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BPG acquires Baltimore hotel for $80M

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The Buccini/Pollin Group (BPG) bought the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel in the Baltimore Inner Harbor for $80 million. | PHOTO COURTESY OF BPG

BALTIMORE – The Buccini/Pollin Group (BPG) has acquired the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel, continuing to build its portfolio of Marriott-affiliated hotels around the nation despite the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 622-room hotel located in the heart of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor district was purchased for $80 million, or about $129,000 per room, according to the seller, California-based real estate investment trust Sunstone Hotel Investors.

The hotel, which also has meeting and event space, three food and beverage outlets and a signature restaurant called Watertable, will now become a franchise under the Renaissance brand and be managed by Wilmington-based BPG’s hotel arm, PM Hotel Group.

“We know and love the Renaissance brand. Renaissance invites business and leisure travelers alike to discover the unexpected. Coupled with the hotel’s unparalleled Inner Harbor location, Baltimore Renaissance Harborplace guests will experience the best that Baltimore has to offer,” said Dave Pollin, BPG president and chairman of PM Hotel Group, in a statement announcing the acquisition. “We are very proud to be expanding our commitment to Baltimore, a city on the rise.”

BPG’s investments in the Baltimore region stretch back decades, as it opened its first hotel in the area in 1997. Today, its portfolio includes 17 Marriott-affiliated hotels, including the recently renovated and rebranded Renaissance Philadelphia Downtown in Old City.

“We are particularly pleased to utilize this transaction to expand our partnership with The Buccini/Pollin Group. Given our ongoing strong relationship, we view this opportunity as a powerful combination during the current environment we find ourselves in,” said Dave Grissen, group president of Marriott International, in a statement.

BPG does not plan to hold the hotel long term, according to a listing for equity investors on the online platform CrowdStreet. The firm solicited investments of up to $20 million in Class A membership interests last month and co-invested $7.1 million in the purchase but plans to sell the property after five years for nearly $145 million, according to the Baltimore Business Journal. According to CrowdStreet, BPG received more than $18 million in offers.

Sunshine Hotel Investors bought the hotel at 202 E. Pratt St. for $157 million in 2005, and reportedly invested $40 million into it over the past decade, including a $24.1 million renovation of hotel rooms that was finished last year, the listing said.

The hotel industry has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, as travel restrictions, event cancellations, and decreased corporate travel kept rooms empty even after hotels were allowed to reopen. As of the week of June 27, only 46% of hotel rooms were booked in the United States on average, according to hotel data analyst firm STR.

That impact drove down the cost of the acquisition for BPG, which reportedly lowered its offer by $20 million from a February proposal.

In June, BPG Co-President Rob Buccini told Delaware Business Times that the pandemic did not give him any pause about further investments in the hotel industry. He teased the acquisition of the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace and said that BPG has made offers on other hotels as well.

“We think it’s a good time to be a buyer,” he said. “I think October is when you’ll start seeing some semblance of stabilization in the hotel business, but a real recovery won’t come until 2021.”

By Jacob Owens

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