UK-based private equity real estate firm, Henley, has joined forces with WaterWalk Hotel Apartments, Jack DeBoer’s fifth national brand, to construct and open five WaterWalk franchises across Florida, North Carolina, and New York. As part of the $100 million agreement, Henley has selected individual sites in Albany, Charlotte, Fort Lauderdale, and North Orlando, with construction starts slated for January 2016.
WaterWalk Hotel Apartments was envisioned by entrepreneur Jack DeBoer, the founder of Residence Inn, Summerfield Suites, Candlewood Suites, and Value Place, and opened the doors to its first site in 2014, achieving full occupancy within just seven months. The deal with Henley marks the first investment in the WaterWalk franchise by a non-U.S. based investor. It also represents Henley’s first transatlantic agreement, following the company’s recent light industrial acquisitions in the Netherlands and Germany, which were Henley’s company’s first international deals since venturing into the continental European market in March 2014. The firm currently holds around £600 million in assets under management.
“WaterWalk’s versatility as a hybrid property type gives investors and franchisees an unmatched opportunity in the real estate industry by providing the strong revenue potential associated with upscale extended-stay hotels and the capital structure and valuation of an apartment,” said David Redfern, President of WaterWalk’s Real Estate Development and Franchising Groups. “In fact, according to CoStar, one of the biggest trends for 2015 hospitality management is foreign investment in hotel portfolios, particularly extended-stay and select-service properties. Henley realized this was a strong franchise partnership due to the demand for this unique product. They believe in our strategic vision, and they are eager to help make our brand available to consumers across the country.”
Ian Rickwood, Chief Executive Officer at Henley, said: “The deal with WaterWalk represents another major milestone for Henley as we further our international presence and enter the U.S. market. Our investment strategy is founded upon ensuring the best possible returns for our investors and our analysis of current demand trends in the leisure and residential markets in the States made WaterWalk a highly attractive investment opportunity. We are looking forward to breaking ground on these new properties and the complexes opening next year. Our intention is that we will add more units to these first five and engage in additional investment and development activity in the U.S.”
WaterWalk’s hybrid model of hotel and apartment combines all of the traditional hotel services into a gated, purpose-built community, and offers a bevy of upscale amenities and features such as all-inclusive pricing, full-sized appliances in a modern kitchen, high-speed Internet, DirecTV with premium channels, housekeeping, fitness memberships, a communal bicycle program, local transportation, and free, customized breakfast.
Companies using WaterWalk for their corporate housing will find an added level of convenience and quality over other corporate housing facilities, including a national sales team and full support staff that are accessible and available on-site 24-hours a day for any guest needs, increased flexibility in lengths of stay, competitive pricing, and premier safety and security measures. WaterWalk’s Wichita location has already drawn corporate lodging rentals from Fortune 1000 companies.
In addition to Henley’s five sites, construction will also begin in 2015 on new WaterWalk Hotel Apartments complexes in Louisville, Denver, Raleigh, Tulsa, and San Antonio.
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