NY hotel investor enters Orlando w/$6M for Days Inn near county jail, seeks more

Bob Moser
GrowthSpotter

A New York-based hotel investor paid $6.05 million on Thursday to enter the Florida market, buying the 201-key Days Inn next to the Orange County Correctional Facility, and now wants another local value-add property within the next six months. 

Located at 2500 33rd St., southeast of the intersection of John Young Parkway at exit 79 of Interstate 4, the 3.82-acre parcel features the limited service Days Inn built in 1973. The deed was recorded Tuesday morning in Orange County.

The buyer was 2500 West 33rd Street Inc., an affiliate of veteran hotel manager Willie D. Singh and private investment partner Harinder Chhabra. 

Singh has been managing hotels in New York City for more than 25 years with the Wyndham Group and other national chains, but in the last few years began looking south for his first investment property -- away from New York's icy winters.

The seller was Trident Hospitality Florida LLC, an affiliate of veteran hotel owner-operator Shirish Doolabh, who previously paid $4.73 million for the property back in 1988. 

Doolabh, now 76, moved to the United States in 1977 from Zimbabwe and purchased his first hotel in Fort Worth, Texas. He built a portfolio of four properties in Texas and started his own hospitality management firm there, but in 1988 saw an opportunity to give his family a better quality of life in Orlando, when the aforementioned Days Inn was put up for sale while his firm was managing it.

Singh approached Doolabh proactively with an offer for his Days Inn earlier this year, which wasn't listed for sale at the time. 

"This was my last property to sell, and the main factor was age," he told GrowthSpotter on Tuesday. "I wasn't sure how much longer I could continue to run the hotel, and my children are now professionals with their own businesses."  

Singh will manage the Days Inn himself, with the help of a general manager and team. His buyer entity will have to invest in a Property Improvement Plan in the coming months to bring the hotel up to current brand standards, with an initial $125,000 to $200,000 estimated for Phase 1 over the next six months.

"The initial phase will be FF&E like interior room painting, door signage, and converting the bedding of 50-room blocks at a time," he told GrowthSpotter. "Eventually we'll be restructuring the entire map of the hotel to better align" smoking and non-smoking rooms. 

Looking forward, Singh and his investment partner are actively seeking another value-add hotel acquisition opportunity over the next six months, with a goal of owning four to five locally by the end of 2018.

"For the first three properties we'd like them to be mid-scale with at least 100 rooms, maximum 200, in the Orlando metro area and tourism (corridor)," he said. 

As for Doolabh, he's ready to start enjoying retirement and explore some of his favored hobbies, like photography. 

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at bmoser@growthspotter.com, (407) 420-5685 or @bobmoser333. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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