UPDATED: MARCH 4, 2016 11:24 AM — A South Korean hospitality group made its first investment in the United States this week via Orlando, paying $26 million on Thursday for the 167-key Embassy Suites Orlando Downtown.
The seven-story, 167-key property was built in 2000, and occupies 0.89 acres at 191 E. Pine St. in downtown near Lake Eola.
The buyer, Paradise America LLC, is an affiliate of Korea-based Paradise Group. The property was purchased free of debt, and Paradise will implement a "significant" Property Improvement Plan (PIP) to bring the hotel up to brand standard, according to Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P. (HFF) in Orlando, which served as lone broker on the deal.
The sale price per key of $155,688 tops the average price per key of $54,700 for single asset hotel sales in Greater Orlando last year, and the Orlando Central submarket at $52,100, according to annual market sales analysis from HREC Investment Advisors, which GrowthSpotter examined on Feb. 10.
No mortgage was registered with Orange County as part of the sale. BayStar Hotel Group has been hired to manage the property.
Paradise Group has grown since 1972 in Korea into one of the country's largest investors in tourism, including hotels, gaming, travel and leisure. The company has also begun expanding into manufacturing and construction, according to its website.
Paradise's two hotels in Busan and Incheon, South Korea, are upscale properties, one of which includes a casino.
Calls to the corporate office of Paradise Group were not returned Friday morning, as the time in South Korea was in the early AM hours of Saturday.
The property was sold by an affiliate of Norwalk, Connecticut-based owner/operator HEI Hotels. It was the company's lone hotel in Orlando and one of seven owned in Florida.
HEI had acquired the hotel in March 2007 from Orlando-based attorney and federal judge Roy Bale "Skip" Dalton.