Hong Kong investors to buy Rosewood Hotel Georgia for $145 million

Rosewood Hotels and Resorts will continue to operate the property

Vancouver's iconic Hotel Georgia opened in 1927 | Rosewood Hotel Georgia

A joint venture out of Hong Kong plans to buy Vancouver’s Rosewood Hotel Georgia for $145 million from Delta Land Development Ltd., hotel management confirmed to Business in Vancouver.

“Rosewood [Hotels and Resorts] will remain the management company,” said Brad Simmons, who is the hotel’s director of sales and marketing. “From our perspective it is business as usual. It’s just basically an acquisition change.”

He added that he was putting together a news release that would be out soon.

Able Shine and Magnificent Hotel Investments Ltd. are the investors behind the group buying the hotel.

Magnificent owns a company named Babenna, which owns a 50% stake in a joint venture company with Able Shine owning the remainder. That joint venture company plans to wholly own the legal entity that will buy the Hotel Georgia, which opened in 1927 and went through a major refurbishment in 2011.

Babenna said in a release that an asset purchase agreement has been signed as of February 27 and that it has three business days from the signing of that agreement to make an initial capital contribution.

It is not known exactly when the sale will close.

Hotel real estate, however, has been a very hot asset class.

British Columbia Investment Management Corp. (BCIMC) in January sold its Vancouver-based chain of 26 hotels, known as SilverBirch, for what is estimated to be about $1 billion.

The exact sale price was not released.

Real estate brokers who specialize in hospitality properties would not discuss SilverBirch’s sale directly but they told Business in Vancouver that demand for hotel properties across Canada is strong.

“Hotel owners divest for a number of reasons,” said CBRE Hotels executive vice-president Bill Stone.

“They may choose to exit an asset class or to sell because hotels require capital or they have financing issues or brand issues or they’re being strategic in taking advantage at a buoyant time.”

Stone said that it is difficult for investors to shift to underperforming real estate asset classes because real estate investments as a whole are doing so well.

The hotel real estate niche is the hottest real estate asset class in terms of growth.

Canadawide, hotel real estate transactions were worth $3.3 billion in 2016. That is 72% more than in 2015.

“The level of hotel transaction activity in 2016 was a record and we’re seeing the beginning signs that 2017 will be in the same bracket for record activity,” added Mark Sparrow, who is a senior vice-president at JLL.

“Hotel fundamentals across the country are incredibly strong.”