For the second time in as many years, Greenberg Traurig real estate shareholder Dan McCawley represented Bank United on a loan for the purchase of a hotel on Florida’s Gulf Coast.
McCawley and associate Stephanie L. Stein, both in Fort Lauderdale, represented the bank in its $34 million mortgage to TPG Hotels & Resorts, which bought the Postcard Inn on the Beach in St. Pete Beach.
TPG Hotels & Resorts, a Rhode Island-based hotel operator and developer, bought the hotel at 6300 Gulf Blvd. for $47.4 million from The Carlyle Group, a Washington-based private equity company. Both the purchase and mortgage closed Oct. 19.
McCawley in 2015 represented Bank United on another loan to The Carlyle Group, which bought the hotel for $32.5 million. That translates to a 46 percent gain in two years.
McCawley’s experience with the property made closing the deal this time around easier and quicker, he said.
“We’ve already looked at title and survey before and got comfortable with it. They had already done the inspections and everything,” McCawley said. “We had already done all the inspections and everything, so that’s one of the reasons why it does make it a little bit simpler to do our due diligence on this transaction. We were familiar with the layout and everything so there wasn’t as much getting up to speed on all that.”
The closing was slowed, however, by about two weeks for a different reason, Hurricane Irma. It made landfall in the Florida Keys on Sept. 10 and traveled up the peninsula.
It was bad timing for the transaction because it hit after a contract was signed but before closing, McCawley said.
The property had to be reinspected after the hurricane, but it wasn’t a priority for inspectors, he said.
“The building inspectors were all looking at hospitals and schools, so they were not going to come out and do the inspections on a hotel. We had to re-inspect (while) … everyone is busy,” McCawley said.
The hotel sustained no damage, he said.
The latest mortgage represents 72 percent of the purchase price, although not all of the financing was for the purchase of the hotel. Some of the money will be invested in upgrades. The Carlyle Group committed to a $6 million makeover.
The Postcard Inn on the Beach is a 1950s-era hotel with 196 rooms and vintage touches in its lobby and furniture. The 8.5-acre property has 300 feet of frontage on the Gulf of Mexico.
That purchase price breaks down to $241,836 per room, up from the 2015 price of $165,816 per room.
The sale speaks to the strong hotel market in the area as well as the hurricane’s lack of impact on that market, McCawley said.
“People in the Northeast, when they see these hurricanes … there’s always some concern that they are going to get worried about things. But then they come down, and they see there’s not really much damage, even to a beachfront location,” he said. “It does attest that … there’s no real panic of these hurricane issues. Even after we get hit by a major hurricane like Irma, we are closing hotel deals on the beach two weeks later. So it does attest to the strength of the real estate market down here.”
Another thing making this particular asset strong is its popularity with patrons other than tourists, McCawley said. Its restaurant and bar are popular among St. Pete Beach residents.
“It’s a strong local beachfront hangout, too.”