New York-based investment firm AWH Partners, which bought the Doubletree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld on May 19 through a local affiliate, will invest $30 million in renovations over the next 18 months. The new owner has replaced existing management there with Spire Hospitality, a firm it acquired three years ago, managing partner Russ Flicker told GrowthSpotter.
First reported by GrowthSpotter on May 22, AWH Partners acquired the 1,004-room Doubletree in partnership with Building and Land Technology, a similar vertically integrated real estate company.
The hotel’s sale price, while not confirmed by Flicker, was less than $70 million estimated by local commercial brokers that GrowthSpotter talked to but more than the $54.2 million estimate based on calculations from the deed document tax, he said.
AWH plans to start renovation work immediately on the Doubletree’s rooms and its 28 acres of landscaping and “outdoor experience,” Flicker said.
Part of the $30 million investment will go toward expanding the hotel’s meeting space from its current 60,000 square feet to 90,000 square feet. The Doubletree, which currently has a mini-golf course and three pools on site, could see AWH “kick it up a notch” for those amenities, but nothing concrete has been designed, he said.
Spire Hospitality immediately replaced Pyramid Hotel Group as the Doubletree’s management firm upon acquisition, Flicker said. Pyramid was ranked in 2013 as the fourth largest third-party management company by revenue in the U.S. by Hotel Management Magazine.
The new ownership has started initial design work on renovations but has not chosen a designer, architect or general contractor yet, Flicker said. A design or architecture firm could be chosen “pretty quickly,” while a contractor choice may take a few months, he added.
The Doubletree hotel, built in 1980, was previously owned by a Delaware-based LLC named 10100 International Drive Owner, which is managed by Atlanta-based UrbanAmerica Advisors. It bought the hotel at the height of the pre-crisis real estate bubble in September 2006 for $76.7 million.
AWH is an affiliate of Winston Harton Holdings, a New York LLC specializing in acquiring distressed real estate assets through equity and debt, per its website.
Winston Harton Holdings owns the Sheraton Lake Buena Vista Resort, which it acquired in December 2010 for $22 million in partnership with New York-based real estate fund manager AREA Property Partners. The companies spent $25 million to renovate that hotel through Spring 2012.
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