Tag Archive for p3s

Public Private Partnerships Investment and Development Opportunities

Economic reports have shown a stagnant job market and a fairly broad-based contraction in public sector construction during the month of March. This contraction reflects cuts to infrastructure investment structures, now that state and local governments have tightened their belts and the activity of the 2009 Federal fiscal stimulus has played out.

The lack of job and economic growth will continue to impact development activity in most sectors, including public institutions. These institutions cannot (or do not want to) use their tax-exempt bonding capacity to finance real estate assets. Traditional real estate lenders are cautious, have strict underwriting requirements, and in some cases, are using floating rate debt to finance assets. And, the parameters for the CMBS market are still quite conservative.

In order to obtain financing, it may be time to explore non-traditional alternatives. The Credit Tenant Lease form of financing offers a solution through competitively priced, long-term fixed-rate debt
and a faster closing process.  CTL applies to municipal, state, and federal government real estate developments and assets, as well as universities, public schools, healthcare, office, retail and specialty real estate.

CTL loans are based on the investment-grade credit rating of the tenant. The real estate is collateral and secondary in the credit matrix. These loans give owners, developers, and clients with investment-grade credit tenants the opportunity to finance the development and hold the property for the long term. With proceeds up to 100% LTV, and long-term, non-recourse debt, CTL loans minimize equity requirements and limit liability.

The current capital market environment offers an excellent time to take advantage of the benefits offered through the CTL loan program. Each CTL loan is structured as a private placement bond. Investor demand for these bonds exceeds supply, driving down loan spreads. This, in combination with low Treasury rates, has pricing at or near historic lows.

CTL loans offer the following advantages:

•  Loan proceeds up to 100% LTV
•  Non-recourse debt
•  Very competitive rates
•  Long-term, fixed-rate debt
•  Assumable debt on sale or transfer
•  Ability to prepay loan (at make-whole)
•  Rate lock up to 60 days prior to closing
•  Construction/Perm loan opportunity

Mesirow Financial specializes in CTL financing, utilizing direct access to CTL debt sources through its 120-person institutional sales group covering 1,200 institutional accounts.  This coverage facilitates real-time, accurate, and competitive pricing with superior execution.  With these advantages, Mesirow strives to provide its clients with optimal pricing and the most favorable terms.

Garfield Traub has an abundant amount of experience in financing public developments despite the economic downturn throughout the U.S. If you would like to learn more about how your public agency can get your essential developments financed contact Garfield Traub and we will be happy to help.

EB-5 Money – Commercial Real Estate Funding Solution

Garfield Traub Development is pleased to call your attention to a very informative article authored by Bob Voelker of the Dallas based law firm, Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr, P.C.  Bob is one of the most respected real estate attorneys in the country, and well versed in development financing methodologies including EB-5 and New Markets Tax Credits among many others.  This article on EB-5 essentials is very timely.  Accessing cost efficient international funds as part of an overall capital structure for essential facilities for the public sector enables projects to not only proceed but to succeed.  Indeed, we at Garfield Traub are using these funds to complete funding on target developments across the nation, especially hotels and conference centers in key cities.  As accessing these funds in China and in other nations is becoming more and more active and a number of new developments are in the international marketplace simultaneously, we only consider using this funding for developments in first or second tier communities, where those communities are also investing in these P3 or Public/Private ventures, and where other “quality” elements exist to establish a strong story to enable strong acceptance.

Please enjoy this article.

Bob Voelker: Foreigner Investors Filling Real Estate Funding Gap

Several local real estate projects are securing gap financing by luring foreign investors to create American jobs in exchange for U.S. visas. Most of this money is coming from China under a U.S. Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) program known as EB-5. As this is a financing tool relatively new to North Texas, I have laid out the basics of EB-5 below.

Q. What is an EB-5 Visa?

A. EB-5 is an immigrant investor visa category created for foreign nationals who invest in a U.S. business that creates at least 10 full-time jobs. An EB-5 applicant will receive a visa for himself or herself, his or her spouse, and all of their children under the age of 21. The USCIS will issue a conditional visa within five-eight months of application by an EB-5 investor, as long as the investor and the project are qualified. If the investment project fulfills the job creation criteria after two years, the investor can obtain permanent resident status, and can apply for U.S. citizenship in five years.

Q. What is the criteria  for an EB-5 Visa?

A. In order to qualify for an EB-5 Visa, an investor must invest at least $500,000 in a “targeted employment area” (as discussed below) in an enterprise that will create at least 10 new full-time jobs for U.S. citizens and legal residents per $500,000 investment. Foreign investors usually purchase limited partnership interests in a limited partnership made up of multiple investors seeking EB-5 visas, with the partnership being controlled by the EB-5 Regional Center (which in essence acts as the “syndicator”). This limited partnership then invests in the entity that controls the project.

Q. What is a Regional Center?

A. A Regional Center is an entity created to sponsor projects for EB-5 investors and approved by the USCIS. There are currently more than 175 Regional Centers.

Q. How are EB-5 investors secured?

A. The EB-5 Regional Centers have well developed networks of foreign brokers and licensed emigration agents who raise financing for EB-5 projects, usually through seminars attended by foreign investors.

Q. What are EB-5 investors looking for in an EB-5 investment?

A. EB-5 investors are looking to obtain two primary objectives: 1) their visas, which are obtained through the project creating the number of jobs promised in the business plan, and 2) a reasonable likelihood of the return of their investment in five or six years. Secondarily, EB-5 investors and the Regional Centers are looking for a small rate of return on their investment—frequently from 1-5 percent plus, depending on the structure, a small back-end interest in the project (which can be subordinated to debt repayment and returns to other equity partners).

Q. What is a Targeted Employment Area?

A. A targeted employment area is any city, county, census tract or other geographical area or political subdivision accepted by the USCIS that has an unemployment rate that’s more than 150 percent of the national average rate, or a “rural area.” A rural area is an area outside a metropolitan statistical area or outer boundary of any city or town having a population of 20,000 or more. Although at first blush this would seem to allow the use of EB-5 financing only for rural projects and urban projects in impoverished areas, we have found after evaluating a large number of proposed project sites that a large percent of urban areas qualify.

Q. What is the process?

A. The process of qualifying a project for EB-5 investment is as follows. It typically takes about nine to 12 months to complete:

• Determine if the site qualifies as a targeted employment area.

• Provide project information including description and proformas to the Regional Center.

• Negotiate a term sheet with the Regional Center outlining the amount and terms of the investment. The Regional Center hires an economist who determines the number of jobs that will be directly or indirectly created by the project (and thus sizing the total EB-5 capital limit).

• Work with other debt and equity financing sources to make certain the EB-5 terms and conditions coordinate with other financing terms.

• The project sponsor and the Regional Center negotiate the investment documents.

• The Regional Center (working together with the project sponsor) prepares the investment partnership documentation and an offering memorandum and business plan outlining the investment and submits same to the USCIS for approval.

• The documents are translated into the foreign language and the Regional Center markets the investment overseas through foreign brokers.

• The foreign investors make application to the USCIS for their visas and place deposits in escrow with the Regional Center.

• The USCIS processes the visa applications.

• The USCIS approves the visa applications.

• The approved foreign investors close their investment in the investment partnership, which in turn invests in the project partnership. These investments are sometimes made while the visa applications are being processed, but are returnable if visa approval is denied by the USCIS.

Securing these funds overseas is a complex and time-consuming process, but for real estate projects that will be in development for a lengthy period, and where the EB-5 raise will be in excess of $5 million, the process may be worthwhile given EB-5’s low cost of capital (versus traditional real estate mezzanine debt/equity).

To find out more about how EB-5 money can help you fund your commercial real estate developments, contact Garfield Traub, 972-716-3838.

Study: Downtown Salt Lake City theater would attract 123K new visitors to Utah

Broadway Theater Rendering in Salt Lake

A cutaway view, looking north, of a plan for a Broadway-style theater along Main Street in downtown Salt Lake City.

By Jared Page, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — A theater capable of hosting first-run touring Broadway shows would attract more than 123,000 new visitors to Salt Lake City each year and serve as an economic catalyst on Main Street, according to a study released Tuesday.

The yearlong study commissioned by the Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City identifies a bevy of cultural and economic benefits the proposed Utah Performing Arts Center would bring to the capital city.

The study was conducted by Garfield Traub Swisher, the Utah-based company selected by the RDA in October 2009 to develop the theater.

The developers say the Utah Performing Arts Center would meet the pent-up demand for first-run touring Broadway productions in Utah. Currently, space and scheduling limitations prevent Salt Lake City from attracting such shows until their seventh, eighth or ninth runs.

“The Lion King,” for example, came to Utah 13 years after it opened on Broadway, according to the study. The show was a huge hit, running for seven weeks and grossing $8 million in sales. It also generated more than $500,000 in sales-tax revenue, $500,000 in stagehand job wages, $200,000 in local musician job wages and another $500,000 in facility rental income.

Garfield Traub Swisher estimates a $200 million to $500 million one-time economic boost during construction of the 148,000-square foot performing arts center. The developers also estimate $9.4 million a year in ongoing economic output from the theater.

In October 2008, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker announced plans to build the Utah Performing Arts Center at approximately 135 S. Main. The project, which will feature a 2,500-seat theater, is estimated to cost between $88 million and $98 million.

The complete report can be downloaded at www.slcrda.com.

Public Private Partnerships (P3s) Solving Government Budget Deficits

Public Private Partnerships (P3)As Government budget deficits continue to climb for state, local and federal Governments, you will hear much more about the utilization of Public Private Partnerships, also known as, “P3s” or “PPP” to solve this problem. P3 projects are quickly rising in popularity due to the success of obtaining funds to renew Government infrastructure, improve transportation, and construct new projects that they could not afford before.

Public Private Partnership (P3) projects involve a contract between a public sector authority and a private party, in which the private party provides a public service or project and assumes substantial financial, technical and operational risk in the project. In some types of PPP projects, the cost of using the provided services is given exclusively by the users of the service and not by the more traditional method of using the taxpayer.

But why would a private company assume such a huge risk?

Like any investment with large risk, there is a great opportunity for an invested private business to make a lot of money. With Public Private Partnerships (P3s), revenues can be in the form of either a fee for service, paid by government, or fees collected from users, as in the case of highway tolls, automatically ticketed red lights, or hotels attached to convention centers.

One example of a development company successfully using Public Private Partnerships structured to benefit various parties, is Garfield Traub Development. Garfield Traub Development has developed over 40 hotels using primarily P3 funding. One example specifically is the Overton Hotel and Convention Center located in Lubbock, TX. This 303-room hotel with a 47,000 gross square-foot conference center is located across the street from Texas Tech University and Jones AT&T Stadium in Overton Park, the largest private redevelopment project in U.S. history, to date.

The hotel was financed with private debt and equity. The conference center was financed with City bonds to be repaid by site-specific occupancy taxes and property taxes. The capital plan also included naming rights, room licenses and nonprofit foundation grants.

The City now leases the conference center on a long-term basis to the hotel owner who operates the entire property. In addition, the hotel also partnered with Texas Tech University’s Restaurant, Hotel, and Institutional Management (RHIM) program to provide hands-on laboratory experiences in a variety of areas that will truly benefit the RHIM students, giving them the opportunity to become successful professionals in the hospitality industry.

With P3s solving Government budget deficits and successfully creating development projects like these, it is no wonder that they are on the rise. It really is a win-win situation for everyone involved and creates a solution to a big problem.

If you want more information on how Public Private Partnerships (P3s) might help you, visit http://www.garfieldtraub.com or e-mail Garfield Traub.

Use Public/Tax-exempt Structure or Public/Private Structure?

Should you use Public/Tax-exempt Structure or Public/Private Structure when developing a big convention center hotel? Catherine Holmes, Partner at Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Mitchell LLP, highlighted in a previous discussion of ours on our LinkedIn group, “Public Private Developments,” about how great the City of Dallas did in getting the Omni Dallas Hotel approved and financed. We would like to branch off her discussion as a Dallasite, and thank Catherine Holmes and everyone involved in getting the Omni Hotel under construction.

Without a headquarters hotel, Dallas had lost its ability to compete for conventions. Booking activity at the convention center since the hotel groundbreaking has been at recent historic highs. But Dallas’ structure was a Public finance structure (not Public/Private) using tax-exempt bonds and Build America Bonds (no longer available) with city guarantees. Indeed, it is our opinion that to finance a 1,000 room hotel development today, it must be a publicly owned and sponsored hotel.

One notable exception is the Omni Hotel getting ready to break ground in Nashville. Why? Omni brought a “deep pocket” and a “Brand, Owner-Operator” very aggressive approach in order to capture that assignment, an assignment previously awarded to another development/design/flag team that could not get the facility financed. Omni’s approach was more aggressive than 99% of the competition has been willing to do in the past for this type of development. Even with the larger equity and debt guarantee commitments, we have it on good authority that the City of Nashville contributed to Omni the land and infrastructure approximating $25 million in value, plus a 20 year tax abatement for 2/3′s of hotels taxes, itself valued at $100 million. That’s a heck of a subsidy for municipality to provide to a private developer. One has to ask the question of whether the City would have been financially better off in the long run to “own” the hotel like Dallas, Houston, Denver, Baltimore, Sacramento, Omaha, Overland Park and the dozen or so other cities who have made that public vs. public/private comparison and chose the former.

The traditional Public/Private financing structure used for hotels that support convention centers, conference centers, university or hospital campuses or airports, brings private equity and conventional debt and combines it with a public bond to complete the capital stack. Since banks were out of the lending business for new full service hotels until just recently, lately we’ve seen bank underwriting criteria showing a Loan to Cost constraint at 50% limited by big Debt Service Coverage ratios of 1.7X to 1.8X, yielding a true loan to cost of 35% to 40% or even less!

Additionally, the amount banks will loan on any one new hotel development is still volume constrained so that getting a bank syndicate together to bring much more that $50 to 60 million in a first mortgage is problematic. Trying to raise $150 million in bank debt for a 1,000 room hotel development is, at the moment, highly unlikely. If anyone knows differently, please comment. So I think that the “sweet-spot” for Public/Private hotel developments today is for smaller communities seeking 250 to 500 keys, while the larger hotels need to trend to the Public structure.

We were also asked by another fellow member, “Do you see municipalities moving in the select service direction–targeting multiple locations using municipal properties–to reduce cost while simultaneously adding to room count?”

Municipalities considering Select Service Hotels as a magnet for more tourism and the economic development it brings, are usually smaller communities where the cost of a Full Service Hotel is prohibitive. There are some excellent examples of Marriott Courtyards, Hilton Garden Inns and Hyatt Places which are connected to conference centers in the suburbs of major municipalities. Around Dallas, Garland, Allen and Lewisville have such properties which serve a vital community purpose.

But for those major communities that require a Full Service, First Class Hotel to support their convention center, they must first insure that an adaquate number of Full Service rooms exist in order to be able to optimally recruit conventions and compete with those cities that have everything Group Planners demand. Case in point is Pittsburgh where new Select Service hotels have opened near the David L. Lawrence Convention Center but haven’t increased booking to a measurable degree. The city has, for a decade, hoped to attract a developer to finance and build a Full Service headquarters hotel, to no avail. They need to learn from your own hometown of Baltimore, just how to support that sort of development. We hope you’ll agree that the Hilton Headquarters hotel has been a major draw for the improved success at the Baltimore Convention Center. 

We agree it makes sense to develop Select Service products in the shadow of a successful convention center or other event centers. Indeed, no less than 5 Select Service hotels began development once we broke ground on our Overland Park Sheraton and Convention Center outside of Kansas City, and today they provide a competitive lower price point for convention attendees. But it’s the City’s Sheraton that “seals the deal” to bring the conventions.

Our member was also correct in stating that construction lenders today are much more receptive to the Select Service model than a Full Service hotel. They’re simply more affordable and therefore less risky. But a danger point is the very fact that they are easier to finance and therefore that product can become overbuilt in an area, creating too much competition, lower rates and lower occupancy!

To see full discussion or more discussion like this one you can visit our LinkedIn group call Public Private Developments.

Top Factors in Choosing an Event Location – Garfield Traub

Part of excerpt taken from Jim Butler of the Global Hospitality Group® Hospitality Lawyers | Authors of www.HotelLawBlog.com

Founder of Garfield Traub Development provided a wealth of information as one of the “top experts in public-private financing for hotel developments” on a panel for JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group®. The panel was for hotel developers, governmental entities and educational institutions about the feasibility and economics of building a hotel using a variety of public and private financing.

To view Ray Garfield’s presentation, see the easy download link at the end of his summary.

Ray GarfieldRay Garfield
Principal
Garfield Traub Developments LLC
972-716-3838
rgarfield@garfieldtraub.com
Ray Garfield and his company, Garfield Traub Developments, specialize in turn-key development of hotels, conference centers and entertainment venues for municipalities, airports, college campuses and hospitals. These developments can bring hundreds of thousands of people into the communities in which they are located to spend money and generate sales tax, without burdening schools or other public resources.

Ray points out that the number one factor for group meeting planners in selecting a location for a conference is the number of suitable hotel rooms nearby the meeting facility. So, if a city is in the convention center business, it has to be in the hotel business in one form or another.

Ray noted that with loan underwriting much more conservative today than it has been in the past, there is a significant gap between the equity that private developers are willing to invest and the debt that private developers are able to raise to develop a new hotel. Public-private financing is often the only way to fill the gap – without it, a hotel development will very difficult to build in today’s financial environment.

Ray has developed some innovative ideas for piecing together a variety of sources of financing for his projects. For example, Garfield Traub recently completed a $67 million, 303 room, independent hotel in Lubbock, Texas across from Texas Tech University, using a combination of two-thirds private funds and one third public funds. In collaboration with the University’s Restaurant-Hotel-Institutional Management school at Texas Tech, Garfield Traub designed a classroom in the city’s conference facility, and raised $11 million in grants to the city to help with the financing for the facility. The city also sold $11.4 million in bonds for the project. The combination of grants and bonds helped to fill the gap between the total cost of the project and the private equity and first mortgage loan.

See below to view or download Ray’s presentation at Meet the Money® 2010, where he shared with some of the information he provides to cities considering hotel development.

Top Factors in Choosing an Event Location

 

JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® Perspective


Jim Butler

Our Perspective. We represent hotel lenders, owners and investors. We have helped our clients find business and legal solutions for more than $60 billion of hotel transactions, involving more than 1,000 properties all over the world. For more information, please contact Jim Butler at jbutler@jmbm.com or 310.201.3526.

Jim Butler is a founding partner of JMBM and Chairman of its Global Hospitality Group®. Jim is one of the top hospitality attorneys in the world. GOOGLE “hotel lawyer” and you will see why.

JMBM’s troubled asset team has handled more than 1,000 receiverships and many complex insolvency issues. But Jim and his team are more than “just” great hotel lawyers. They are also hospitality consultants and business advisors. For example, they have developed some unique proprietary approaches to unlock value in underwater hotels that can benefit lenders, borrowers and investors. (GOOGLE “JMBM SAVE program”.)

Whether it is a troubled investment or new transaction, JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® creates legal and business solutions for hotel owners and lenders. They are deal makers. They can help find the right operator or capital provider. They know who to call and how to reach them.

Public Private Partnership Makes W. TX Vision Reality

Overton Hotel and Conference Center

Overton Hotel and Conference Center, Lubbock, TX

As posted on HotelBusiness.com

LUBBOCK, TX—A decades-old vision to have an upscale, full-service hotel and conference center that would draw scores of guests and meetings attendees to this West Texas city and also support Texas Tech University in its own backyard has come to fruition here as a result of a public private partnership.

The Overton Hotel and Conference Center is the tangible yield of years of efforts by the partnership, which is composed of owner/operator 1859 Historic Hotels, Ltd., the City of Lubbock and developer Garfield Traub. “Lubbock is almost a text book case of how to bring private equity and conventional financing and tie it to public support in order to accomplish a very top priority for a community,” said Ray Garfield, principal of Garfield Traub Development, which led the project.

A great deal of the drive to get the project off the ground centered on the university and its desire to have a full-service hotel and conference center on or near its campus. “Around 1999 to 2000, we talked with [Texas Tech] and we talked with the city. The city itself, the entire community wanted a full-service, first-class hotel with ballroom and meeting space to support that entire region of Texas. When the efforts by Texas Tech fell short, the city took responsibility for it and we began our relationship with the city around 2003, 2004 and were formally selected to be the developer and led the effort to design and to build the facility,” Garfield said.

According to Steven Moffett, president of Garfield Traub’s hospitality division, the Overton deal is a $67-million project, of which $22.4 million was funded through the city and grants programs that Garfield Traub helped initiate with the city. The city issued bonds for $11.4 million. The balance—$44.6 million—was privately financed and includes a $35-million loan from Plains Capital Bank, Moffett said.

The City of Lubbock owns the conference center, the 11,250-square-foot ballroom, the kitchen and some back-of-house facilities, which it is leasing to 1859 Historic Hotels for the next 40 years with options beyond that. Garfield Traub and 1859 Historic Hotels owns the 15-story, 303-room hotel tower and the land underneath the hotel.

“It was a classic structure with great collaboration between the city and the private sector,” Moffett said.

The property is located within an urban renewal project known as the Overton Park District, which is considered the largest privately funded project of its kind based on acreage in the U.S. In creating this district, hundreds of properties in what was deemed a distressed neighborhood were acquired during the past decade by locally based McDougal Cos. “and essentially…eliminated one of the largest slum and crime areas in the city. [McDougal] has built, really, one of the truly great planned redevelopments in the country that any city has envisioned or tackled or accomplished,” Garfield said. The district encompasses student housing, retail, commercial, office, mid-rise and single-family residential space.

“The hotel and conference center that we developed with the city and the support of the university is sort of the crown jewel of this district,” Garfield added.

Garfield also noted that while the city could have issued tax increment financing (TIF) for the Overton project, the increase in assessed values of the redeveloped district “have been so tremendous over the past decade, and the tax revenues so greatly increased to the city, that the city issued its own debt at $11.4 million as its contribution.”

Hunter Carmichael, general manager of the Overton, agreed the community and university have been very supportive of the project. “Sometimes you get projects like this and everybody’s trying to find a way to hinder it. In this market it’s been the exact opposite of that,” Carmichael said.

The hotel overlooks Texas Tech and Jones AT&T Stadium, home to the university’s Red Raiders football team.

A key feature of the hotel is the second floor incorporation of a classroom for the school’s restaurant/hotel institutional management (RHIM) program, which helps students prepare for hospitality careers. “We are staffing our facility with many of the students going through the RHIM program,” Carmichael said, adding students outside the hospitality program also are on staff. “It’s been one of the advantages of being so close to the campus.”

The second floor also houses meeting rooms and executive boardrooms and the GM said his sales team will therefore be going after association and group business for the use of those facilities. “The state associations that rotate throughout all of Texas have really left the West Texas Panhandle off their radar due to having no facility that could accommodate them. So we’re going after all those groups that have been skipping the Panhandle and try to get them to come back out here. There hasn’t been a new full-service facility opened up here in over 20 years,” Carmichael said.

Carmichael added the initial feedback from some groups that have come to the hotel has been “overwhelmingly positive.”

The hotel and conference center, designed by architects DLR Group, includes a street-level restaurant, a business center, a fitness center and an outdoor pool. A bar and lounge area is situated between the conference center and the hotel lobby, which features 22-foot-high ceilings. Loewen Design Group did the interior design, incorporating West Texas themes.

The Overton is operated as an independent like many of the properties under Galveston, TX-based 1859 Historic Hotels’ umbrella, which includes a portfolio of some 2,500 guestrooms nationwide. Among its properties are the Brown Hotel in Louisville, KY; the Cliff House at Pikes Peak in Manitou Spring, CO; and the Menger Hotel proximate the Alamo in San Antonio.

Flagging the Overton with a major brand was considered, but according to Moffett, consulting firm PKF was brought in to help assess branding and it concluded the property would not get the additional rate and occupancy in the market that would be needed to justify a flag. However, Garfield suggested a community with the size and dynamic of Lubbock would, ultimately, attract the attention of flags such as Marriott, Hilton and Sheraton. “So we’ve designed the hotel, in every respect, to meet or exceed the requirements to accept a major flag. We’ll continue to keep our finger on the pulse of the marketplace there and when we believe it’s absolutely necessary to be branded then we’ll make that decision,” he said.

Currently, the hotel has a budgeted rate of $139 for this year. “And right now we’re exceeding that,” Carmichael said. “We’re in a market where, historically, average rate has run in the $70s.”

Carmichael noted that there are also two Holiday Inns, a Staybridge Suites, a Hawthorn Suites and an Embassy Suites in the market.

“Being a part of delivering a hotel of this quality to the City of Lubbock and to Texas Tech University has made this very special for us because Lubbock has needed this for a long time and they deserve a hotel like this,” Moffett said. “When you’re there in the lobby and people walk in you hear, ‘Wow. This hotel’s in Lubbock?’ It’s pretty amazing. It’s just a classic win/win situation for everyone.”

Garfield Traub Opens Overton Hotel and Conference Center

Overton Hotel and Conference Center

Overton Hotel and Conference Center, Lubbock, TX

As written in Hospitality World Network

Garfield Traub Development, a real estate development services firm, announced today the completion and grand opening of the 303-room Overton Hotel and Conference Center in Lubbock, Texas.

The facility is expected to be a driving engine of development and economic growth for Lubbock for years to come. With more than 20,000 square feet of meeting space, the Overton Hotel and Conference Center is poised to attract state and regional conferences to Lubbock. The hotel is part of Overton Park District, the largest privately funded redevelopment project in the United States, based on acreage.

The Overton Hotel and Conference Center is a public/private partnership with the City of Lubbock, owner/operator 1859 Historic Hotels Ltd, and developer Garfield Traub, who led the project. Other project team members include DLR Group as design architect and MEP engineer; Turner Construction Company and Lee Lewis Contractors as general contractors; Loewen Design Group as interior designer; and AMD Engineering as civil engineer.

“From the beginning, we envisioned a world-class hotel and conference center for Lubbock,” said Steve Moffett, president of Garfield Traub’s Hospitality Division. “The overwhelming positive response from City officials, Texas Tech University, and citizens indicates that we have exceeded the community’s expectations. This is a model example of how a public/private partnership should work to benefit all involved.”

“In addition to building such a fabulous new hotel and conference center, we have recruited an excellent team to serve our guests,” said General Manager Hunter Carmichael, “and it is exciting to see them working so well together. We have spent months in planning, construction, outfitting and training, and now we have hit the ground running with an excellent facility and staff providing the level of service modern business, conference and leisure travelers expect in an upscale facility.”

At 15 stories, the hotel overlooks the adjacent Texas Tech University campus and Jones AT&T Stadium. The connection to the University is evident on the second floor, where a classroom for the Restaurant/Hotel & Institutional Management (RHIM) program prepares students for careers in the industry.

A short walk from retail stores, the Texas Tech campus, and other nearby attractions, DLR Group designed the hotel and conference center to accommodate both pedestrian and vehicular traffic in the simplest manner.

“DLR Group designers located parking adjacent to the conference center to enhance the streetscape and pedestrian experience leading to the hotel. The exterior architecture incorporates a glass pillar illuminating the nightscape,” said Ken Martin, AIA, Principal with DLR Group. “Once inside, guests are greeted by a stunning lobby with 22-foot-high ceilings.”

Amenities for the $66-million hotel and conference center include a business center, fitness center, restaurant, bar and outdoor pool. The hotel bar and lounge area serves as a hub of activity, situated between the hotel lobby and conference center.

An exquisite 11,250-square foot ballroom is connected to the hotel and located at street level to allow for ground-level courtyard access. The second level meeting rooms and executive boardrooms are accessed by a grand staircase connecting them to the ballroom level and hotel.

In addition to improving the local economy by attracting guests to major events, meetings and conferences, the facility has boosted Lubbock’s employment outlook by hiring some 150 permanent employees. That is in addition to the hundreds who worked on the facility’s construction.

The innovative capital plan structured by Garfield Traub for the development included private debt and equity, City bonds, naming rights, room licenses, and nonprofit foundation grants. The City will lease the publicly-owned conference center on a long-term basis to the hotel owner, who will operate the entire property seamlessly.

“This public/private partnership has produced the finest hotel and conference center in Lubbock and the region,” Moffett said.

1859 Historic Hotels has owned and operated hotels for nearly 100 years. The company portfolio includes over 2,500 guest rooms nationwide, in hotels ranging from a small 4-Diamond mountain resort to a state-of-the-art big-city conference center to an urban airport hotel to several restored historic landmarks. Based in Galveston, Texas, 1859 Historic Hotels takes its name from the year in which its oldest hotel, The Historic Menger, was built next to the Alamo in San Antonio. Other properties include: The Crockett Hotel, San Antonio; The Cliff House at Pikes Peak, Manitou Springs, Colorado; South Shore Harbour Resort and Conference Center, on Clear Lake between Houston and Galveston, Texas; The Brown Hotel, Louisville, Kentucky; The Hilton Houston Hobby Airport; Inn at the Waterpark in Galveston; Fredericksburg Hospitality House, Fredericksburg, Virginia; and Inn of the Hills Resort and Conference Center, Kerrville, Texas.

Turner is the leading general builder in the U.S., ranking first or second in all major segments of the building construction field. During 2008, Turner completed $10 billion of construction. Turner is the only builder offering clients a nationwide network of offices across the U.S. Founded in 1902, Turner Construction Company is a subsidiary of the Turner Corporation located in Dallas, TX.

DLR Group is a nationally recognized, integrated design firm with 15 offices nationwide. Design is the driving force behind our architecture, engineering, planning, and interiors practice. DLR Group’s philosophy is to listen to clients, create exciting design that fulfills the client’s goals, and deliver on the promise of quality, integrity and sustainability.

Garfield Traub is a national development services provider focusing exclusively on public and public/private developments. The company uses innovative and cost-effective financing solutions tailored to the requirements of public sector clients. Garfield Traub employs a “turnkey” delivery method that minimizes client risk and administrative burden, maximizes transparency and accountability, and enables “fast track” delivery of high quality facilities months or even years ahead of when otherwise thought possible. Garfield Traub and its executives have developed more than 30 million square feet of all property types nationally and abroad, and have financed more than $11 billion in debt and equity. The experience of Garfield Traub’s management team includes the development, financing and/or asset management of more than 40 hotels comprising more than 16,000 guestrooms, 1.3 million square feet of function space, and $2.5 billion of debt and equity under both private, public/private and public nonprofit ownership structures.

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