EJF Capital LLC announced today that it has joined Tidewater Capital and Graves Hospitality to develop Marriott International’s new Moxy hotel in the Uptown neighborhood of Oakland, California. Uptown Oakland qualifies as an “Opportunity Zone” under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and offers investors attractive tax benefits to create economic growth.
The planned Moxy hotel, which is slated to open in 2021, consists of 173 rooms and targets millennial travelers who are increasingly drawn to Oakland’s energetic urban environment. EJF Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer Neal Wilson said, “This is exactly the type of investment the Opportunity Zone program is intended to generate. And we are pleased to support the greater Oakland community through the development of this exciting hotel concept, which is expected to bring 50 permanent jobs to downtown. Along with our partners, Tidewater and Graves Hospitality, we believe that this is the right time to invest in Oakland, a dynamic, expanding city that welcomes growth capital.”
Asheel Shah, EJF’s Senior Managing Director and Head of Real Estate Development, added, “The Moxy will appeal to a powerful demographic with growing salaries and an appetite for travel. We are investing with a team that has an outstanding track record in developing property in urban environments locally and across the country. We are proud to be playing a part in the growing Oakland business community.”
EJF is providing equity capital for the project primarily from EJF OpZone Fund I LP, a fund formed by the global alternative asset manager last year specifically to invest in new construction projects within opportunity zones. San Francisco-based real estate investment manager and developer Tidewater Capital led the effort to entitle the site and will manage the construction process. Graves Hospitality is one of Marriott’s exclusive partners for development of the Moxy brand.
“This is an innovative project representing a two-year grassroots effort with community input to create something very special in Oakland. We’re excited to take an under-utilized site and, with EJF and Graves, deliver a high-density, high-quality sustainable development in one of Oakland’s most vibrant neighborhoods,” said Craig Young, Managing Principal of Tidewater Capital.
Uptown Oakland is an up-and-coming neighborhood in downtown Oakland, California. It is considered the entertainment hub for Oakland with numerous restaurants, music venues, art galleries and theaters such as the Fox Oakland Theater and Paramount Theater. In addition, numerous high-rise apartment properties have brought additional foot traffic and economic vitality to the area.
Most recently Jack Dorsey announced that Square Inc. will lease the entire Uptown Station redevelopment of 350,000 square feet located only three blocks from the Moxy location. Uptown Station was a closed Sears department store that will be renovated to mixed use retail and office. The Moxy will be the closest hotel to Uptown Station.
Other notable employers nearby include Pandora Media, which employs over 1000 people in their Oakland headquarters two blocks away, and Kaiser Permanente with over 3000 employees in downtown Oakland. With the Opportunity Zone designation, EJF believes Oakland’s economic expansion will accelerate.
The Oakland Moxy Hotel
The Moxy hotel will be one of the first new hotel developments in downtown Oakland in many years. The hotel will benefit the community in many ways besides creating jobs such as locally sourcing food and beverage resources and sourcing local art for the lobby area. Additionally, the street-level amenity space will be programmed with regular events and exhibits weekly, drawing primarily upon local artists, musicians, performers and other neighborhood businesses. The project will engage the broader community and make a meaningful contribution to an already eclectic neighborhood, providing environmental, economic and cultural benefit for local businesses, individuals and visitors.
Moxy is Marriott’s newest brand and is a three star boutique hotel product targeted toward millennials who understand that style can be delivered at attractive prices. Marriott did extensive research on what millennials truly care about, such as socializing, speedy Wi-Fi and a fun active lobby with bar and lounge areas. There are currently 14 Moxy hotels in operation in the U.S., 39 in Europe and 3 in Asia with dozens more under development.
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