The 448-room Hyatt Regency Austin overlooking Lady Bird Lake has changed hands.
Bethesda, Md.-based Host Hotels & Resorts said it purchased the hotel for about $161 million in cash. The acquisition came ahead of a planned foreclosure auction of the property, Host Hotels said. Host Hotels is the nation’s largest real estate investment trust in the lodging sector.
The hotel’s previous owner is listed as Tantallon Austin Hotel LLC by the Travis Central Appraisal District. The appraisal district valued the property at $90.8 million in 2020, down from $96.9 million in 2019.
The hotel industry has been among the sectors of the economy hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. Host Hotel’s purchase price reflects a 20% to 25% discount relative to pre-COVID-19 pricing based on the sales of three comparable Austin hotels between 2014 and 2019, Host Hotels said.
The hotel will retain the Hyatt brand, with Hyatt continuing to manage the property under a long-term agreement, Host Hotels said.
James Risoleo, president and CEO of Host Hotels, said the acquisition allows Host Hotels to diversify into a market “with a thriving economy and a young and vibrant population.”
“We are excited to have executed an off-market, opportunistic acquisition of a high-quality hotel in one of the nation’s fastest growing cities, which continues to be a top beneficiary of corporate and people relocation,” Risoleo said in a written statement. “As travel resumes, we expect the well-located Hyatt Regency Austin to benefit from a strong rebound led by Austin’s multiple leisure and business demand drivers that are anchored in world-renowned music festivals, sporting events and blue-chip corporations.”
The Hyatt sits on nearly six acres at 208 Barton Springs Road, on the south shore of Lady Bird Lake. The hotel has 45,000 square feet of total meeting space (including ballrooms of 14,000 and 10,000 square feet), two food and beverage outlets, an outdoor pool and a fitness center.
Its rooms were renovated in 2015. Meeting space was expanded in 2015, and renovated in 2018.
The acquisition follows two other major Austin hotel sales in recent months.
In November, an affiliate of the Axton Group, a privately held investment management firm based in San Francisco, bought the Renaissance Austin Hotel. Axton paid $70 million for the 492-room hotel at 9721 Arboretum Blvd. in Northwest Austin.
In late December, Irvine, Calif.-based Pacific Hospitality Group acquired the 194-room Hotel Granduca in Southwest Austin for an undisclosed price.
Developed by Giorgio Borlenghi and his Houston-based Interfin Companies LP in a joint venture with Austin-based Riverside Resources, the Granduca is on a bluff overlooking Bee Cave Road (RM 2244) and Loop 360 (Capital of Texas Highway). The hotel will be rebranded as part of the Meritage Collection of independent hotels this summer.
The hotel industry worldwide has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Texas, hotel revenues plunged by more than $5 billion last year compared to 2019, an drop of 40.9%, hotel consulting firm Source Strategies said in its latest report.
In the final quarter of last year, the Austin-Round Rock market suffered a 40% drop in room nights sold, the largest percentage decline among the state’s five largest metro areas, said Source Strategies, which has been tracking hotels in Texas since 1988.
Risoleo, however, said Host Hotels is encouraged by Austin’s shrinking hotel construction pipeline compared to pre-pandemic levels, as well as by the market’s significantly lower hotel operating costs compared to other markets.
He said Host Hotels bought the Hyatt Regency before its scheduled foreclosure auction “at a very attractive yield based on 2019 performance.”
Host Hotels currently owns 76 properties in the United States and five properties internationally totaling about 46,800 rooms.
In Austin, new hotels continue to break ground and open, or are nearing opening.
The 31-story Austin Marriott Downtown just opened this month, across from the Austin Convention Center. The hotel has 613 rooms and was due to open last summer, but the pandemic postponed those plans.
This summer, the Thompson Austin hotel is scheduled to open its doors downtown. The hotel — one of Hyatt’s newest lifestyle hotels — will have 212 guest rooms and suites, 17 residences and more than 6,000 square feet of meeting and event space. It will be in a mixed-use tower now under construction at East Fifth and Brazos Street.
This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Hyatt Regency Austin hotel sells for $161 million