PGIM Real Estate has moved to acquire a pair of Hong Kong hotels, including snapping up a mid-range Central hostelry for a reported HK$850 million ($109 million), as the city’s travel slump persists and the market for residential conversions heats up.
The US fund manager has agreed to purchase the Travelodge Central Hollywood Hotel at 263 Hollywood Road from the property’s joint owners, Hong Kong private equity firm Schroders and Singapore-listed investment company ICP, according to market sources which identified PGIM as the buyer.
Located at the intersection of Hollywood Road and Possession Street in the Sheung Wan area, the 23-storey, 148-key Travelodge Central Hollywood Road contains 58,275 square feet (5,414 in square metres) of gross floor area and had previously been reported as the subject of sale discussions in 2020.
Local residential operator Dash Living announced Friday that it had signed an agreement to take over management of the Travelodge property as the rebranded Dash Living on Hollywood co-living project.
Former Office Tower
At the reported transaction price, the affiliate of US finance giant Prudential will be paying HK$14,586 ($1,872) per square foot of GFA and HK$5.74 million ($740,000) per key for the Travelodge, which first opened as an office block in 1998. A broker familiar with the Hong Kong market indicated to Mingtiandi that the transaction for the hotel is pending a licence renewal.
Fund manager Pamfleet (later merged into Schroders) and ICP had received a reported HK$930 million ($120 million) offer for the hotel from Hanison Construction Holdings in 2020, but no sale eventuated.
Across the harbour in southern Kowloon, meanwhile, PGIM picked up the Casa Hotel at 487-489 Nathan Road in the Yau Ma Tei area for HK$590 million ($75.7 million) after the owner had shopped the property for as much as HK$800 million before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, according to a recent account in the Hong Kong Economic Times.
The HKET reported in October that negotiations between the parties had brought down the asking price for the 162-room hotel to HK$650 million. PGIM, an affiliate of US finance giant Prudential, wasn’t named at that time, but the report said the party bidding for the hotel planned to reposition the property as a co-living project.
A market source familiar with the deal identified the seller as Yiu Lai Kuen, who is “keen to retire and cash in the property” after managing the three-star Casa Hotel for several years.
The 14-storey hotel comprises 37,228 square feet of gross floor area and features shops on the ground floor, the hotel lobby on the first floor and restaurants on the second floor, with 10 to 16 guest rooms on each of the third to 14th floors.
PGIM’s consideration of HK$590 million values the property at HK$15,848 ($2,034) per square foot of GFA and HK$3.64 million ($470,000) per room.
The pair of hotel deals position PGIM near the front of a a parade of fund managers taking advantage of Hong Kong’s depressed hospitality sector to pick up discounted hotel assets as institutional real estate investors look for properties with potential for conversion to rental residential use.
Last month, AEW Capital Management teamed up local developer Crystal Investment to purchase the 388-room Hotel Sav in Kowloon’s Hung Hom area from Chuang’s Consortium International for HK$1.65 billion ($210 million), with the new owners understood to be aiming to reposition the property for use as student housing.
To the south of the Hung Hom property in Tsim Sha Tsui is the 158-room Butterfly on Prat hotel, which US developer Hines acquired in November with plans to convert the property into a co-living space to be managed by local residential operator Dash Living.
In July, Warburg Pincus-backed Weave Living agreed to pay HK$390 million for a 99-room hotel in Kai Tak, with plans to convert the building into rental accommodation under its Weave Studios line in a project to be launched in the second quarter of 2022.