Hospitality Veterans Launch New Fund to Acquire Hotels
Seeks to Acquire Upscale Full-service and Select-service Properties
- Robert Solmson, the founder, former chairman and CEO of Memphis-based RFS Hotel Investors, Inc., a publicly held real estate investment trust (REIT), listed on the NYSE. The company was the first hotel REIT formed in 1993 and was acquired by CNL Properties for approximately $700 million in 2003;
- Ed Ansbro, former senior vice-president of Equity Inns, Inc., a Memphis-based REIT, listed on the NYSE. The company and its portfolio of 130 hotels was acquired in 2007 by Whitehall Street Global Real Estate Limited Partnership for $2.2 billion; and
- Richard Reiss is chairman of New York-based Georgica Advisors and a number of other private investment entities. Reiss was previously a RFS board member.
"We believe the turmoil in the credit markets, together with the prospect of a recession, the depth and duration of which is unknown, will create compelling opportunities to acquire hotels at historically attractive prices," Solmson said. "Assuming moderate leverage of approximately 50 percent, we will have up to $300 million in buying power and plan to invest this sum over the next few years. We intend to acquire an institutional grade portfolio of premium-branded select-service and full-service hotels that will be diversified by brand, geography and market segment. Initially, we will focus on Marriott, Starwood (including Sheraton and Westin) and Hilton-branded products."
Solmson noted that the company has flexibility in structuring transactions. "We intend to be entrepreneurial in our approach and creative in structuring transactions, and we have the ability to move quickly. We will work directly with owners, developers, brokers and management companies to source transactions. It is anticipated that all of the hotels will be operated by third-party management companies."
Fairwood Hospitality Investors, LLC