Community Reacts to Updated Marina Redesign Plans – presented by Sonnenblick

PANAMA CITY, Fla. – Tuesday night, city officials and developer Robert Sonnenblick held a special meeting to reveal updated Marina Redesign Plans. Sonnenblick presented the public with a 3D model that provided a detailed showing of the revisions. The updated plans were designed and revealed after a string of special meetings to get public input.

“I’m excited about the marina project. I think having a lighthouse, restaurant, hotel, all of the things I’ve heard about it are really positive things,” said Little Mustard Seed Owner Greg Snow.

Snow has operated his business out of a shop off Harrison Avenue for two years. He, along with the commission, believe the revised plans will improve economic growth downtown.

“I’d really like to have some residents at the marina project, more people that will eat at our restaurants here, shop at our store, shop for a quick gift maybe on the way home,” said Snow.

“The mayor has said and all of us have said we want to unleash the potential of downtown Panama City, and this is the catalyst that can do that. This can bring Harrison Avenue to life,” said Panama City Commissioner Billy Rader.

Wayne Wright has been a Panama City resident for over thirty five years. He has followed the redesign plans every since they began years ago and remains hopeful that the project is actually moving forward.

“I think it would be beautiful now that they got the wheels in motion, if they can get it to go in the way that it’s supposed to go and everybody do their end of it,” said Wright.

Rader believes Sonnenblick has incorporated the components that citizens have emphasized the most.

“He can’t do everything that everybody he wants, but he’s going to do the best that he can and what his bank will allow him to do and what the commission will approve. Nothing has been approved. No contract has been signed. We need to be realistic about this,” said Rader.

The final plans for the redeveloped marina are due by late May. However, Sonnenblick is requesting an extension. The commission is assuring that more public meetings will be held before any plans are finalized.

View at MyPandle.com

Sonnenblick in the News: plans revealed at Panama City marina meeting

By Byron Khalil |
Posted: Wed 2:53 AM, Apr 26, 2017

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) – Panama City commissioners are talking about new ways to bring more people to downtown through the area’s marina project. New designs were revealed at Panama City marina development meeting on Tuesday.

Bob Sonnenblick, the marina project’s developer showed a 3D design at the meeting. Some at the meeting say they were pleased to see a more detailed plan for the marina space.

In the meeting Sonnenblick announced two new additions to the existing marina design. The first was a series of factory outlet stores spanning over 150,000 sq ft. He says they will be high end stores that offer discounted prices. Sonnenblick says that should bring more foot and car traffic through the downtown area.

Sonnenblick’s second announcement was his plan to build properties on Beach Drive near the marina. He proposed two high rise buildings, one rental and one residential building.

“I am concerned about the boat trailers and the people that live here that like to use our waterfront. This is part of the reason we live here,” Lesley Fontaine said. She lives in Panama City.

“Then he’s added this new idea of retail that sounds interesting. I’d like for the stores to be more exciting than just saying outlet stores, but still it sounds like they really are bringing in people,” Camila Jimmerson said. She’s also a Panama City local.

During the open comment portion of the meeting some locals expressed concerns about traffic along Harrison Avenue. They say the current street conditions cannot handle more cars on the roads than it already does currently.

Throughout the meeting Sonnenblick made it clear these designs are not final. He even pointed out several things that could be changed before the meeting ended.

Sonnenblick says all parts of the new marina will be built at the same time in one phase. He estimates the entire project will take two years to complete.

View on WJHG TV

Sonnenblick’s marina dreams grow – Panama City

By ERYN DION News Herald Reporter
Tuesday Posted Apr 25, 2017 at 9:31 PM Updated at 10:39 AM

PANAMA CITY — Developer Bob Sonnenblick returned to Panama City on Tuesday night with big dreams and bigger promises for the marina redevelopment project, which now includes an outdoor outlet mall and white sand beach along East Beach Drive.

Saying he “would not leave” without answering everyone’s questions, Sonnenblick, along with his partners at Bellingham Marine, Florida Architects and GAC Construction held the floor for more than two hours, fielding questions, comments and concerns from the public, mainly focused on the boat ramp and potential parking.

It was the first time the developer has been in town since reviewing public comments regarding the project forwarded by the city. Many of those comments expressed concern that the project was becoming overcrowded and some residents were upset at the recent addition of outlet stores around the Marina Civic Center, particularly because they block access to the boat ramp.

“We will not build this project without boat ramps … and parking,” Sonnenblick told the audience, adding that the boat ramp, which he proposes to double in size, likely will be moved to the other side of the marina along East Beach Drive.

Also featuring heavily in the plans presented Tuesday were a pair of high-rise residential towers on property owned by George Kingston, who Sonnenblick referred to as a “partner.” The plans call for the relocation of East Beach Drive to accommodate the condos and a white sand beach across the road.

This is going to be an amazing beach,” Sonnenblick said.

With the addition of the residential towers, Sonnenblick hinted a grocery store might be back on the table for the downtown area, declining to state names, but saying it was an entity which had an agreement several years ago that fell apart.

Tuesday’s meeting also saw the debut of Bellingham Marine, Sonnenblick’s replacement for Legendary Marine, to answer questions regarding the actual marina function of the project. Manager of Project Development Steve Ryder said the new marina will have 236 slips and accommodate boats up to 200 feet long.

Sonnenblick also promised to keep a fishing pier, as well as a lighthouse, which in models shown during the meeting was more of a glass tower-type structure with a stairway and observation deck. Parking would be confined to garages flanking Harrison Avenue on either side of the marina’s entrance, as well as under a sloped esplanade running down the middle of the marina where the marina’s green space currently is located. The 9/11 memorial also would be moved, likely in front of the Civic Center.

Sonnenblick said the price tag on the project will be close to $300 million and construction will take two years. The developer said phased construction “wouldn’t work” and would be done all at once.

Above all, Sonnenblick emphasized nothing is set in stone with regards to the marina, especially because the city has not officially selected him as the project’s developer. His exclusive negotiating agreement with the city expires in May and will need to be extended, he said, for him to be able to conduct the feasibility studies he needs to move forward.

“We’ve redesigned the marina,” he said. “It will work now. It will be a working marina that will last 30 years.”

Residents were skeptical but encouraging during public comment, with many expressing hesitancy about the scale of the project, but wishing Sonnenblick luck.

A date has not been set for the next meeting.

Click to read on News Herald (plus comments)

Sonnenblick in town on Tuesday – at Panama City Hall

Bob Sonnenblick speaks at a Marina workshop meeting at Panama City City Hall on Tuesday.

Posted Apr 23, 2017 at 6:08 PM Updated Apr 23, 2017 at 6:17 PM

By KATIE LANDECK News Herald Reporter

PANAMA CITY — Developer Bob Sonnenblick will be back in town on Tuesday to answer questions and present changes to his vision for the downtown Marina redevelopment project.
Sonnenblick, who is an exclusive negotiating agreement with the city to try to win the project, was in town one month ago to show his designs. Since then, the city has forwarded comments and questions from dozens of citizens to him for review.

“We have carefully reviewed every single comment that was received from the community,” Sonnenblick said in an email. “We will address each one at the 4/25 meeting.”

The meeting will be at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

In conversations over the past month, Mayor Greg Brudnicki said he’s been pleased with the tone of the conversations with the developer.

“It’s been very positive,” he said.

Based on the most recent designs, residents have expressed concerns the project is overcrowded and in need of more green space and more panoramic views of the city’s waterfront. There was also consistent critique of a proposed movie theatre.

As a result, Sonnenblick said is team is making “design changes” this week to present at Tuesday’s meeting.

This will be the fourth version of the designs presented to the public since the exclusive negotiating period started last May, and officials such as the City Manager Jeff Brown have cautioned there will likely be many more. Past changes have included minimizing the “carnival area” and keeping the boat ramp.
The meeting is expected to also be attended by his partners Bellingham Marine, SMG Theatre, Marriot hotels and GAC construction.

People who still have questions are encouraged to submit them on the city website pcgov.org.

“He said he was going to address every single issue and wouldn’t have any problem,” said Brudnicki. “If there are any others left, please submit them ahead of time.”

Read on NewsHerald

Bob Sonnenblick to moderate Bisnow’s Second Annual Lodging and Innovation Series (BLIS) Conference

Press Release:

Bisnow’s Second Annual Lodging and Innovation Series (BLIS) Conference.

Bisnow Conferences Inc has selected Los Angeles-based real
estate developer Bob Sonnenblick, Chairman of Sonnenblick
Development LLC
, to moderate its “Unique Hotel Travel
Experiences” panel at their upcoming West Coast Hospitality
Conference on Friday April 21 in Downtown Los Angeles.

Venue: The LA Hotel- Downtown
Time: 9am to 6pm
California Grand Ballroom- 2nd floor
333 S. Figueroa St.
Los Angeles, CA 90071

For more information, please go to: www.bisnow.com
or call (202)-293-0370.

Bob Sonnenblick Panhandle Project: Special Report: The Marina’s Future

PANAMA CITY, Fla – The Panama City Marina has been the anchor for the downtown area since the 1950’s, but it wasn’t until 2014 that the city actually gained complete ownership of the facility from the state. That gave city officials the right to develop the marina, partnering with for-profit businesses. Some believe the right development could reverse a 40-year trend.

“How do we use the marina as a catalyst to build on to revitalize downtown? Because for the last 30 years, if you look at it, everything’s been a flight to the beach. There’s been a flight to 77, and downtown has continued to lose customers and lose business and it was time. So, when we got ownership, that gave us the ability to have public private ownerships on the property,” said Panama City Mayor Greg Brudnicki.

Last year, city commissioners hired Robert Sonnenblick, a Los Angeles developer with more than 30-years experience, and Peter Bos, a successful Destin businessman and developer, to envision the marina’s future. The new partnership, called NewCo LLC, has pitched what they call “rough” proposals.

Both Exhibit-A and Exhibit-B are similar, calling for hotel space, restaurants, entertainment or theaters, boat storage and service facilities, parking structures, apartments, and a major renovation of the marina civic center. Exhibit-B floats business names like Hilton and Marriott, Maguire’s Irish Pub, Jimmy Buffet spin-off’s Lulu’s and Landshark, and Bonefish Grill.

“It will spur people coming. If there are people coming, it will spur people to live downtown, and it will create jobs. We just want to make sure it’s done correctly and that whatever we do is beneficial to the public as a whole,” said Brudnicki.

“I’m not really keen on national themed chains,” said Panama City Commissioner John Kady.

Commissioner John Kady says he’s taking his cues from earlier public meetings, where residents told commissioners what they wanted at the marina.

“Those original guidelines – they’re very explicit. One – public access to the water, including boating and fishing, public and private entertainment venues for enjoyment, mixed retail, restaurant, office space, attractive and adequate parking facilities, civic activity space, connections to and elements of public art, an overall mix of projects that provide a substantial economic benefit to downtown, not just to this site,” said Kady.

“We asked to see restaurants on the marina. We asked to see a hotel. The civic center is, according to what we’ve talked about on our conference calls, an integral part of the deal. So, if you have people coming and staying at the hotel – going to upgraded shows at the civic center for the public – do you put a movie theater down there? There are some commissioners that say they don’t like that. I’ve talked to a lot of people that would love a movie theater downtown – that don’t want to go to Pier Park. Something for the locals,” said Brudnicki.

When commissioners cancelled Tuesday’s public meeting to hear the developer’s plans, criticized Kady decided to hold his own town hall, saying there’s not enough information available.

Brudnicki defends the decision.

“They weren’t ready. And I said, if you’re not ready, don’t come in here with some half-baked deal. We don’t want to see a piece of paper with scribbling on it. ‘We think we can do this. We know we can do this.’ We wanna see something – one – that we can eventually take to the public and say, guess what? They can deliver this. Do you want it?” said Brudnicki.

“This is being created for one purpose and that is that this will be the destination. It’s almost like they know they have a requirement to enhance the city so it’s like, ‘Oh yeah, of course this is gonna enhance the city.’ But it is intended to be a standalone,” said Kady.

“This is for, not only people that live downtown, but Bay County. This is for all over the region. But, if that doesn’t happen and we can’t do it, we’re going to exhaust all effort to make sure that we find out. Because we owe it to the public to unleash the potential of what we have downtown,” said Brudnicki.

Peter Bos stressed that anyone is yet to see his and Sonnenblick’s final marina development plan.

The public should get it’s first look on March 14th.

Sonnenblick Development Panama Downtown Starts to take place

Wednesday
Posted Dec 28, 2016 at 4:45 PM
Updated Dec 28, 2016 at 4:45 PM

Panama City officials are expecting the new marina development, which moved into the planning stage this year, to be the catalyst the area has needed to move into a new era.

By Katie Landeck | 522-5114 | @PCNHKatieL | klandeck@pcnh.com
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story ranked No. 4 in a News Herald editorial poll of 2016’s top stories. This series will continue through Jan. 1 and online at newsherald.com.

PANAMA CITY – Little by little, Panama City leaders have laid the groundwork this year for the revival of Panama City’s downtown.

Panama City officials are expecting the new marina development, which moved into the planning stage this year, to be the catalyst the area long has needed to advance into a new era.

“This (project) releases the potential of downtown,” Mayor Greg Brudnicki said in August after tentative design plans were first unveiled.

Riding the unrealized potential, nearly a half-dozen other projects were launched in 2016, ranging from the creation of apartments, to business investments, to other beautification efforts. Community leaders are hoping the domino effect of projects will build a “live, work, play” environment in the downtown, perhaps best summed up the Downtown Improvement Board (DIB) brand promise released this fall.

Their vision pledges to create “walkable community that provides urban loft living, authentic experiences and access to recreation” as well as places to work and a view of the bay.

A new look

All through the year, Panama City residents were offered a taste of what could come for the downtown as design plans trickled out.

In April, they received their first taste of the immediate future for the downtown when the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) released a video of the redesigned Harrison streetscape, with parallel parking, new landscaping, a roundabout and much wider sidewalks to accommodate outdoor shopping and dining.

While plans to start construction this year fell through, CRA Director Jared Jones said work will start next year. In the meantime, he and his staff are tweaking the designs, including looking at whether any palm trees will stay.

The biggest proposed changes, however, came in August when Sonnenblick Development released a proposal for $200 million worth of construction on the marina. The plans have since gone through several iterations as things have been deleted and added as part of an ongoing back and forth between the City Commission and developer.

The latest designs, released in late December, emphasize entertainment, fishing and cultural opportunities, and maintain the signature lighthouse first proposed. Construction is a ways away, but the plans should take a solid form in 2017.

The business side

The business side of the downtown saw a boost this year as store owners, quasi-government agencies and even the police departments started to change the culture.

For years local officials have said their needs downtown are living spaces and jobs, and those pieces finally started to fall into place. Several store owners turned the space above their business into apartments with instant success, and Jellyfish Health, a health-care technology company, moved into a larger downtown building on Oak Street – they already had a smaller presence on Harrison – with the promise to add 100 high-paying jobs in the next two years.

“These people have sort of jumped the gun to do it at a lesser cost,” Brudnicki said. “Once the marina is done and successful, the price is going to go up.”

Government spent the year working to bolster these efforts.

The police stepped up to more aggressively police vagrancy in the downtown at the request of business owners. Destination Panama City worked to market the shops – as well as the rest of the city – to outside markets, such as Atlanta, Baltimore and Nashville, Tennessee, even landing several restaurants in the pages of USA Today. The city bought the Trustmark Bank building in the heart of the downtown with promises to add foot traffic, vibrancy and more importantly parking.

And then the DIB, after a rocky summer marred by firing its executive director, resignations and a general lack of direction, the board found its footing this fall with an assist from Jennifer Vigil, CEO and president of Destination Panama City. The board found a path forward as the local marketers for the downtown, hired an event planning company to improve events, particularly a rebranded Friday Fest, and put forward a new marketing campaign renaming the downtown “Harrison.”

Yet to come

All of this planning, officials said, poises the downtown area for a strong 2017.

“We have made huge strides in getting Panama City on the map as a tourist destination,” Vigil said. “And our timing couldn’t be better as our city leaders announced an agreement this year to work with Sonnenblick Development LLC on the redevelopment of the Panama City Marina. We are laying the groundwork now to support this new multimillion-dollar investment in our community.”

The mayor put it even more simply.

“Good things are already happening,” Brudnicki said. “I anticipate more of that.”

READ MORE AT NEWS HERALD

Sonnenblick Development starts to take place downtown Pananam

Details of PC Marina financing plan released by Sonnenblick Development

Posted Dec 16, 2016 at 6:00 PM Updated Dec 17, 2016 at 11:50 AM
The new documents show the look of the project, dubbed MarinaVillage, has remained largely consistent with designs presented in August, emphasizing recreational activities to draw people in. Rough estimates indicate Panama City stands to make hundreds of millions from associated leases and taxes
By KATIE LANDECK
News Herald Reporter

PANAMA CITY – A clearer picture of the anticipated costs of the marina redevelopment and how the completed project might look have come into focus with the release of Sonnenblick Development’s financing proposal.
Documents received Thursday show the look of the project, dubbed MarinaVillage, has remained largely consistent with designs presented in August, emphasizing recreational activities to draw people in. And rough estimates indicate Panama City stands to make hundreds of millions from associated leases and taxes.
City officials cautioned the proposal is not a done deal, and they still are waiting on more information about the budget, timeline and other aspects of the proposal.

A tremendous amount of detail is yet to come,” City Attorney Nevin Zimmerman said Friday.
As it stands, some key changes to the design include the addition of a fishing pier, a boat sales and service area, a movie theater, a convention center and a possible apartment complex in “phase II.” A plan for dry boat storage and arcade have been deleted from the plans.

“I think it’s closer to what the commissioners want,” said City Manager Jeff Brown, who oversees the project. But, he cautioned, “this is not the end-all, be-all. This is the starting point.”

READ ORIGINAL…

Comparing the August and December marina designs

What’s the same:

  • The bulk of the marina still is being transformed into an outdoor play area similar to HarborVillage in Destin, with an amphitheater, outdoor marketplace, restaurants, lighthouse and water shuttle.
  • There still will be about the same number of places to park a boat.
  • Sonnenblick Development still is planning to pay to revamp the Marina Civic Center.
  • There still are plans to add up to two parking garages near the entrance.
  • The current Bay County government building still will be removed.

What’s changed:

  • A plan for dry boat storage has been removed. A boat service and sales area has been added in its place, as well as a potential 100-unit, nine-story apartment complex in Phase II. As part of these changes, the city attorney said there is talk of keeping the boat launch.
  • A plan to use the old library building for hotel facilities space and the current City Hall as an arcade has been nixed. Instead, they are proposing two hotels – first, a 150-room Marriott, and then a 150-room Hilton in Phase II – and a movie theater and convention center.
  • The “yacht club” has been renamed a “marina club.”
  • A fishing pier has been added to the southeast corner of the T-dock.

Sonnenblick: Panama City gets financial plans for marina

The financing proposal, delivered late Thursday, outlines what Sonnenblick Development believes is financially feasible for the project and offers to invest a substantial sum in the city, according to City Manager Jeff Brown

A crew works on the T-dock at the Panama City Marina earlier this fall. ANDREW WARDLOW/NEWS HERALD FILE PHOTO
Thursday
Posted Dec 15, 2016 at 6:53 PM

Panama City gets financial plans for marina

The financing proposal, delivered late Thursday, outlines what Sonnenblick Development believes is financially feasible for the project and offers to invest a substantial sum in the city, according to City Manager Jeff Brown.

By Katie Landeck | 522-5114 | @PCNHKatieL | klandeck@pcnh.com
PANAMA CITY – The developer for the Panama City Marina project has sent the project’s financing proposal to the city, meeting its deadline on the nose.

The financing proposal, delivered late Thursday, outlines what Sonnenblick Development believes is financially feasible for the project and offers to invest a substantial sum in the city, according to City Manager Jeff Brown. It also marks the beginning of serious negotiations between city leaders and developers about what will be built.

“We’ve been talking in generalities with Sonnenblick about things they want to do,” Brown said. “Now we’re at the point we’re looking at the business side, and the question is, ‘What can they do?'”

In this upcoming phase, it will become clear how much money the city will be expected to pay for the project, what the impact will be on existing infrastructure, what will happen with existing boat slip renters and what actually will be built.

The proposal was not made available to The News Herald late Thursday, as it was submitted after the city’s business hours.

Brown cautioned it will take the city weeks to fully analyze the proposal, emphasizing it’s not a done deal. The analysis will look at how the project could generate growth for the city, how it fits into the long-term vision for the downtown and whether it meets citizens’ needs.

The city commissioners plan to talk about the proposal at upcoming meetings and then hold a separate public workshop once they have a better understanding of the plans.

“Before we make a decision, before we vote on anything, we are going to bring it to the public,” Mayor Greg Brudnicki said. “We are going to say, ‘We think this is good; what do you think.’ ”

The financing proposal also will be made available on the city’s website, www.pcgov.org, under the section for public comments.

“We all feel it is important to get public input,” Commissioner John Kady said.

The original designs, which repeatedly have been called a rough draft, included a lighthouse, carnival area, dry boat storage, two hotels and much more. Many of the items, such as the dry boat storage, have faced scrutiny from commissioners.

Until the financing proposal is released, it’s unclear how the feedback from commissioners might have changed the design.

READ ORIGINAL

Panama City votes to advance marina project

newsherald_logo
Panama City votes to advance Sonnenblick marina project

With the yes vote, the commission has given developer Bob Sonnenblick the go-ahead to begin feasibility studies that examine what types of businesses the marina would best support, including types of hotels and marina activity.

By KATIE LANDECK
News Herald Reporter

PANAMA CITY — In a 4-1 decision, the Panama City Commission voted Tuesday night to continue to work with Sonnenblick Development on the marina redevelopment, moving the project into a phase that opens the door to more public comment and starts feasibility studies.

“All this is is the next step forward,” Mayor Greg Brudnicki said.

With the yes vote, the commission has given developer Bob Sonnenblick the go-ahead to begin feasibility studies that examine what types of businesses the marina would best support, including types of hotels and marina activity. Sonnenblick previously has said he is planning to spend “several hundred thousand dollars” on studies.

He is expected to formally report back on his findings Dec. 15, as the commission voted to give him a one-month extension.

The sole no vote was from Commissioner John Kady, who made it clear he supports Sonnenblick and thinks he is “the guy” but voted no due to several concerns. He said his primary concern is that starting the feasibility study would be misguided until the commission gives unified input on the MarinaVillage proposal that Sonnenblick presented — with the help of Destin developer Peter Bos of Legendary Entity — during the commission’s August meeting. Kady felt that starting the studies without input was potentially a waste of money.

“I don’t want to set him loose to start working until he knows the consensus of the commission,” Kady said.

Other commissioners and two lawyers assured Kady that is not what was happening, pointing to Sonnenblick being given and incorporating feedback into the design. For example, a proposed dry boat storage facility already has been scratched and more public space has been added. Over Labor Day weekend, all of the commissioners provided Sonnenblick with feedback behind the scenes about what they liked and disliked about the plans.

Moving forward, Brudnicki said the commission will continue to provide feedback in real time, and Commissioner Billy Rader agreed with Kady’s request for more public meetings to discuss.

Public comments

During Tuesday night’s packed meeting, the commission heard numerous public comments that ranged from a request to “stop it now” to people saying they “loved it.”

But as Commissioner Mike Nichols repeatedly has pointed out, nothing about the current plan is final.

“It’s pretty pictures. It’s not necessarily what you are going to do,” he said.

Kady also expressed concerns about Sonnenblick’s choice of Bos as a business partner, as the agreement shows Bos’ company, which has a complicated legal and financial history, as having a 20 percent stake in a new limited liability company that will be formed to work on the project.

City Attorney Nevin Zimmerman also worked to answer those questions.

While the legalese is complicated, essentially in the agreement Sonnenblick has set up his company as the managing entity, meaning he will be making all of the decisions and Panama City is only contracted with him.

Read On Newsherald.com

Panama City set to take next step with marina

newsherald_logo

Panama City Marina Village Proposal

Panama City Marina Village Proposal

Many more details are yet to be ironed out.

By KATIE LANDECK
News Herald Reporter

PANAMA CITY — Taking the next step forward with the marina redevelopment, the Panama City Commission will vote Tuesday on whether to continue to work with Sonnenblick Development.

During a 5 p.m. meeting, the commission will publicly go over the proposed plan for the redeveloped marina, called MarinaVillage, for the first time since developer Robert Sonnenblick, the principal of Sonnenblick, presented it in August. The current design, which can be amended as the project moves forward, calls for waterfront dining, boat storage, family-friendly activities and a lighthouse. Approval of that proposal is dependent on what the feasibility studies find.

The studies “will look at some of the bigger pieces of the things that have been proposed and make sure they are financially feasible,” said City Manager Jeff Brown. “If they’re not feasible, we’ll work to adjust.”

While the whole plan may be talked about, the commission is only voting on whether they want to continue to work with Sonnenblick, and by extension, his partner for this project, developer Peter Bos of Legendary Entity, who has a 20 percent stake. The commission is not voting to approve the designs.

“The vote is only to continue the process with the developer,” said Mayor Greg Brudnicki. “Our contract is with Sonnenblick. … He’s the main guy.
A yes vote would give Sonnenblick the go-ahead to start working on feasibility studies and design work. Sonnenblick said he plans to spend several hundred thousand dollars in this next phase. Approval of that proposal also is dependent on what the feasibility studies find.

While the majority of commissioners gave the tentative designs a glowing review following the August meeting, Commissioner John Kady has been vocal about his reservations.

Instead of a “simple up and down vote,” he said he hopes to facilitate conversation about what commissioners and the public like and dislike about the proposed MarinaVillage to help guide the feasibility studies. “There has been a large outpouring of interest,” he said. “I hope we take the time to hear from each and everyone and have the opportunity to deliberate.”

Kady, for instance, has reservations about the “carnival” atmosphere that a games area in the center of the marina would create, worried it would be inconsistent with Panama City’s branding. He also has concerns about working with Legendary Entity, as the company has a “high risk,” with a low viability rating by financial consultants Dun & Bradstreet as well as ongoing lawsuits.

Kady had asked for a workshop prior to Tuesday’s meeting, but there was never “any consensus” among commissioners about having one, according to Brown.

Brudnicki said he prefers to wait to discuss the plans until after the feasibility studies, saying he “wanted to see what was feasible first” in order “to make sure if we put something out there, we can deliver it.”

The meeting will be at 5 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 9 Harrison Ave.

Read on Newsherald.com

PANAMA CITY, Fla. Panama City leaders finally took steps forward with the city marina project at Tuesday’s Commission meeting.

PANAMA CITY, Fla.

Panama City leaders finally took steps forward with the city marina project at Tuesday’s Commission meeting. The developer, Sonnenblick Development LLC, presented commissioners with a rough outline of what the marina might look like when the project is complete.

“I was never satisfied with anything that we had looked at in the past and I see something here that’s going to be attractive, that’s going to lure people to come to our marina,” said Panama City Mayor Greg Brudnicki.

At the commission meeting, Sonnenblick presented city leaders with businesses that are already interested in investing.

“Marriott Corporation has come back to us and said they absolutely love this project,” said Sonnenblick Development LLC President Robert Sonnenblick.

The hotel would be around 160 to 175 rooms, geared toward families.

“Marriott came back very positive for this property and that is kind of our anchor tenant, if you will, for the project and we’re very excited about that,” said Sonnenblick.

Plans also show a row of water front restaurants.

“Big patios, overlooking the water and a very exciting group that will draw people to this project,” said Sonnenblick.

There was also talk about a water taxi shuttle, multiple parking garages, retail, and converting the city hall building into a family entertainment center.

“This creates an ambiance downtown that can release the potential of the rest of downtown,” said Brudnicki.

“We’re excited to have you guys interested in our property. Panama City and the St. Andrews area are a great place,” said Panama City Commissioner Mike Nichols.

Although commissioners are excited about these plans, nothing Sonnenblick presented is concrete quite yet.

“This is nothing but a plan view with stuff on it. Preliminary, and so there’s plenty of time for input and changes and that sort of thing,” said Panama City Commissioner John Kady.

Sonnenblick will be presenting the commission with hard numbers and plans at their November meeting.

Panama City commissioners move forward with early plans for city marina project

Larissa Scott

By Larissa Scott | lscott@wmbb.com

Aug 18, 2016 Westside Los Angeles State of the Market Conference

PRESS RELEASE: Los Angeles, Calif. August 1, 2016
Hotel developer Bob Sonnenblick, Chairman of Sonnenblick Development LLC, has been chosen by RENTV/ RECG Conferences to moderate the L.A. Hotel Industry Update panel at the upcoming “Westside L.A. State of the Market” Conference on Thursday
August 18 at 8:30am
at the DoubleTree Hotel in Culver City.

Westside Los Angeles State of the Market Conference

Westside Los Angeles State of the Market Conference
August 18, 2016
DoubleTree by Hilton LA Westside
6161 W. Centinela Ave.
Culver City, CA 90230

7:15 am Registration
7:30 am Breakfast
7:55 am – 12:00 pm Program

PROGRAM AGENDA:

Industry leaders gather to discuss the State of the Commercial Real Estate markets throughout the
Westside of Los Angeles

7:55 AM RETAIL PANEL
Bob Champion, President, Champion Real Estate Company
Felix Gutnikov, Partner | EVP, Origination, Thorofare Capital
Alex Kozakov, Senior Vice President, CBRE | Capital Markets
Others to Be Announced

8:40 AM HOSPITALITY and ONE BEVERLY HILLS PANEL
Bob Sonnenblick, President, Sonnenblick Development
Jay Newman, Chief Operating Officer, Athens Development

9:15 AM MULTIFAMILY PANEL

Ken Kahan, Founder & President, California Landmark
Kitty Wallace, Senior Vice President, Colliers
Abraham Mehrian, President & Co-Founder, Strategic Legacy Investment Group
Henry Manoucheri, Chairman & CEO, Universe Holdings
Others to Be Announced

For more conference info, call 310-242-8613

More Info

Developer Bob Sonnenblick, Chairman of Sonnenblick Development LLC, to speak on Hotels 6-21-16: RENTV Greater LA Development Conference

Event_reg_rentv

HOTELS

Bob Sonnenblick, Principal, Sonnenblick Development

Greater Los Angeles Development Summit
DoubleTree by Hilton LA Westside
6161 W. Centinela Ave.
Culver City, CA 90230

7:15 am Registration
7:30 am Breakfast
7:55 am – 12:00 pm Program

PROGRAM AGENDA:
Bringing together major players in commercial real estate development to discuss their projects
and how to get projects built in the Greater LA area.

Bob_Sonnenblick_Speaker_Hotels

Los Angeles-based hotel developer Bob Sonnenblick, Chairman of Sonnenblick Development LLC, has been chosen by Rent TV Conferences Inc. to speak at their upcoming Greater LA Development Conference on the status of the L.A. County hotel market. Mr Sonnenblick will also discuss the firm’s new $80 Million USC Hyatt House Hotel, being developed by Sonnenblick SC LLC on the USC Medical Center Campus.

For more info, please see www.SonnDev.com or www.Rentv.com or call 310-242-8713

Panama City commissioners approve negotiation agreement for possible marina project with with California-based Sonnenblick Holdings

Updated: Wed: 10:53 PM, MAY 11, 2016

Panama City commissioners approve negotiation agreement for possible marina project

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) – Some big changes could be coming to Downtown Panama City. On Wednesday, Panama City commissioners approved an agreement they believe will boost tourism in the city.

Improvements to the marina have been in the work’s for months, and now another new marina project could be on the horizon.

“The biggest things that are happening in North Florida from Pensacola to probably Jacksonville with this type of development and residential development is happening right here in Panama City,” said Commissioner John Kady.

Commissioners unanimously approved an exclusive agreement with California-based Sonnenblick Holdings at a specially called meeting.

If the plans move forward there’s a lot of exciting possibilities on the table for the marina including new hotels, hundreds of parking spots, new housing, a garage, and even a row of waterfront restaurants and shops.

“Whatever’s best to help revitalize,” said Panama City Mayor Greg Brudnicki. “We know that we need retail. We know that we need, you know, retail. We’d like to see retail downtown as far as on the marina, and a hotel, and more people living downtown.”

Over the next few months, Sonnenblick will develop a plan to overhaul the downtown Panama City Marina area. The agreement outlines several tentative ideas for development, such as thousands of square feet dedicated to retail and office space.

“We might be coming to you for two different hotels not just one and we are of the opinion that the more hotel rooms, the more tourism is generated for the downtown and will make the project that much bigger,” said Robert Sonnenblick, Chairman of Sonnenblick Holdings.

Mayor Brudnicki says if the company meets its deadlines, the city could break ground within a year. Commissioners say they’re excited to work with a team with such a high level of expertise.

“I call it an all star team of guys that have experience. They’ve done this before in other markets and there’s no substitute for experience,” said Commissioner Billy Rader

Mayor Brudnicki says the city would have to do some things to prepare, like increase water and sewer capacity, but he says they’ll make sure they meet those goals.

See on WGHG TV

CLICK HERE

Panama City to enter exclusive negotiations with new marina developer – Robert Sonnenblick

newsherald_logo

As developer Robert Sonnenblick outlined plans for the Panama City Marina project, city commissioners could not stop saying how “impressed” and “excited” they were.

By KATIE LANDECK
News Herald Reporter

Posted May 11, 2016 at 11:01 AM
Updated May 11, 2016 at 5:07 PM

PANAMA CITY — As developer Robert Sonnenblick outlined plans for the Panama City Marina project, city commissioners could not stop saying how “impressed” and “excited” they were.

“I’ve met numerous developers,” Commissioner Billy Rader said. “This an A-team of people that have been assembled. … They have experience. They have done this before.”

During a special meeting Wednesday, the commission entered in an agreement to negotiate exclusively with California-based Sonnenblick Development Inc. for one year. City manager Jeff Brown called the agreement a “giant step forward,” as it could signal the end of the city’s year-and-a-half-long quest to find the right developer.

Click for Full Article

Bob Sonnenblick Panelist – May 5th 2016 – FIBI Creative Financing Options for Commercial Real Estate

Bob Sonnenblick Panelist – May 5th 2016 – Los Angeles – For Investors By Investors (FIBI) Creative Financing Options for Commercial Real Estate

For Investors By Investors (FIBI) announces that Mr Robert Sonnenblick will be speaking at their upcoming real estate conference on May 5 in Downtown Los Angeles.

Creative Financing Options for Commercial Real Estate

Thursday, May 5, 2016

6:00 PM

Double Tree Hotel

120 South Los Angeles Street, Los Angeles, CA (map)

Topic: Creative Financing Options for Commercial Real Estate

How would you like to get equity financing that is long-term, fixed, non-recourse, and can be passed through to tenants, hotel guests, and even to the next owner!

We’ll also be talking about EB-5 financing in commercial real estate.  Come learn and network with our panel of experts and attendees–your next business opportunity may be waiting for you.

Panelists:

Matthew Harrigan, Managing Director, PACE Equity (www.pace-equity.com)

Robert Sonnenblick, Principal of Sonnenblick, LLC (http://www.sonndev.com)

Michael G. Homeier, Esq., Founder, Homeier & Law, P.C. (http://homeierlaw.com)

Commercial Real Estate State of the Market Bob Sonnenblick Keynote Speaker

Bob Sonnenblick Keynote Speaker at the 2016 Sacramento Commercial Real Estate State of the Market

 

Sacramento
Commercial Real Estate State of the Market
May 12, 2016
HYATT REGENCY SACRAMENTO
1209 L Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

7:15 am Registration
7:30 am Breakfast
7:55 am – 12:00 pm Program

PROGRAM AGENDA:
Industry leaders gather to discuss the State of the Commercial Real Estate markets
throughout Sacramento

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Bob Sonnenblick, Principal, Sonnenblick Development
Rex Hime, President & CEO, Calif Business Properties Association

Mr. Robert Sonnenblick will moderate the 4pm CrowdFunding March 10th, 2016

Press Release: March 1, 2016-New York City, N.Y. IMN Conferences has announced that Mr. Robert Sonnenblick, Chairman of Los Angeles-based Sonnenblick
Development LLC will moderate the 4pm CrowdFunding panel at their upcoming March 10th conference at the Marriott Downtown Hotel in NYC.

Lessons_Learned_Pitfalls_and_Mistakes

  • Choosing the right platform for your deal
  • How to make sure your project can be sold
  • How much $$ can you raise?
  • CMBS defaults
  • Looking for bad actor partners
  • Technology guys vs. real estate guys
  • Portal senior management structure
  • Interstate deals: What does it take for a New York company to go over the George Washington Bridge and do a deal in New Jersey?
  • Biggest campaign killers

For more information

Information Management Network

Click here

Crittenden Conferences Inc announced: Mr. Robert Sonnenblick, Sonnenblick Development LLC, to moderate the Hotel Development and Finance panel

Session 602 April 19 2016-Crittenden

Tuesday, April 19, 2016 | Omni San Diego

9:00am -10:00am

#602 – Hotel Development and Financing

Moderator: Bob Sonnenblick – Sonnenblick Development LLC
Mark Strauss – Cohen Financial
Thomas Whitesell – CapitalSource
Malcolm Davies – George Smith Partners

Press Release: San Diego, Calif.-Feb.25, 2016

Crittenden Conferences Inc has announced that Mr. Robert Sonnenblick, Chairman of Los Angeles-based Sonnenblick Development LLC, has been chosen to moderate the Hotel Development and Finance panel at their upcoming Crittenden National Real Estate Conference in San Diego, California. The conference will be held at the Omni Hotel in Downtown San Diego.

Crittenden-Sonnenblick-Press Release

Sonnenblick Development – Contractor selected to build Sacramento International Airport hotel

The 150-room hotel is a design-build project, so the general contractor is an integral partner in the planning. A permitting meeting is set for Monday with Sacramento County and the development team, said Bob Sonnenblick, principal of Sonnenblick Development LLC of Los Angeles, the developer of the hotel. Mark Anderson
Staff Writer Sacramento Business Journal

Contractor selected to build Sacramento International Airport hotel

Sundt Construction will be the general contractor of the long-delayed Hyatt Place hotel at Sacramento International Airport.

Shimahara Illustration

Sundt Construction will be the general contractor of the long-delayed Hyatt Place hotel at Sacramento International Airport.

The 150-room hotel is a design-build project, so the general contractor is an integral partner in the planning. A permitting meeting is set for Monday with Sacramento County and the development team, said Bob Sonnenblick, principal of Sonnenblick Development LLC of Los Angeles, the developer of the hotel.

The hotel won approvals from Sacramento County in January last year, but Sonnenblickand his previous general contractor had a falling out, which delayed the project. Sonnenblick declined to name the previous general contractor.

Sundt is based in Tempe, Ariz., and it has nine offices in Arizona, California and Texas, including an office in South Natomas, just a few miles from the airport.

In the interim between its initial approval and now, Sonnenblick had a feasibility study done that found the hotel would do better with larger suites and more of them, so he added 15 rooms, including some as large as 650 square feet. Regular suites are about 450 square feet.

“We don’t want to be just a limited-service hotel. We want to get some higher-end clientele as well,” he said.

Construction will be a prevailing wage project and Sonnenblick has a handshake agreement to allow UNITE HERE Local 49, the hotel employees union, to represent the eventual hotel workers at the Hyatt Place, which could open in the summer of 2018. A groundbreaking is expected this summer, he said.

The airport would bring significant business to the hotel. Many flights out of Sacramento leave very early in the morning, so travelers from all over Northern California could use the hotel to arrive the night before traveling. Also, the hotel, like the airport, is right off Interstate 5, which can generate demand from auto travelers.

Another potential business for the hotel is air crew rooms. Many airlines have contracts that require them to house flight crews in nearby hotels.

READ MORE…

Robert Sonnenblick in the news: Why new airport Hyatt is behind schedule – and why it’s getting bigger

A rendering for a Hyatt Place hotel proposed for Sacramento International Airport, which the developer now wants to expand to add more rooms.

A rendering for a Hyatt Place hotel proposed for Sacramento International Airport, which the developer now wants to expand to add more rooms.
– Shimahara Illustration

Sonnenblick Development Why new airport Hyatt is behind schedule  and why it's getting bigger
Dec 4, 2015, 7:01am PST

The Hyatt Place hotel proposed for Sacramento International Airport will get more and larger rooms.

The 135-room project in January won approval from Sacramento County, which operates the airport. Developer Bob Sonnenblick recently won its approval to add 15 luxury suites to the property.

Sonnenblick, principal of Sonnenblick Development LLC of Los Angeles, said feasibility studies showed the hotel will do better with more rooms and the addition of the big suites.

The new design calls for 10 suites of 650 square feet, five junior suites and the original 135 suites, which are on average 450 square feet, he said. The five-story hotel will be wider, but not taller with the extra rooms.

Sonnenblick said he hopes to be under construction in the second quarter next year and then work through about 15 months of construction. That would put the opening of the new hotel in summer or fall of 2018.

Construction was to have started earlier this year, but Sonnenblick and his previous general contractor had a falling out on the project. Sonnenblick plans to name the new contractor later this month. Sonnenblick Development LLC will build, operate and own the hotel, which will be between the airport’s main commercial terminals. He said he has lined up construction financing.

The airport is a demand driver for the hotel. Many flights out of Sacramento leave very early in the morning, so travelers from all over Northern California could use the hotel to arrive the night before traveling. Also, the hotel, like the airport, is right off Interstate 5, which can generate demand from drivers. Another potential business for the hotel is air crew rooms. Many airlines have contracts that require them to house flight crews in nearby hotels.

Hyatt Place is a limited-service property. Locally, there are Hyatt Place properties in Davis, Rancho Cordova and Roseville.

Sacramento County has been seeking a hotel for more than a decade. The previous hotel at the airport, the Host Airport Hotel, was successful, but was demolished for the expansion of the airport’s new terminal and parking garage.

Mark AndersonMark Anderson
Staff Writer
Sacramento Business Journal

Read more on Sacramento Business Journal

Bob Sonnenblick – EB-5 funding – Why Investors and Lenders Are Betting on LA’s Hospitality Market –

ROBERT_SONNENBLICK BIZNOW HOTEL NEWS
Nov 23, 2015 Patricia Kirk, Reporter
As the LA market continues to heat up across all sectors and with a fear of looming interest rate hikes, financing major developments has become a hot topic. For hotels, one of the hotter strategies is EB-5 funding.

San Francisco-based developer Sonnenblick’s principal, Bob Sonnenblick (pictured here with Athens Group COO Jay Newman), launched the discussion of hotel investment and development at Bisnow’s 3rd Annual LA Hospitality Boom event last week, discussing capitalization of an $80M hotel his company is developing on USC’s medical campus. San Francisco-based developer Sonnenblick’s principal, Bob Sonnenblick (pictured here with Athens Group COO Jay Newman), launched the discussion of hotel investment and development at Bisnow’s 3rd Annual LA Hospitality Boom event last week, discussing capitalization of an $80M hotel his company is developing on USC’s medical campus.

In financing the project, his firm put up 25% equity and secured a loan for 50% of the cost at 5% interest. But instead of filling the 25% equity gap with mezzanine money at 12% to 14%, his firm leveraged EB-5 funds at “an unbelievable 6%” rate, he says. “EB-5 money is a game changer,” Bob says. He noted EB-5 doesn’t work for everyone, as securing funding is a one-year process. “We had time to wait, because it took that long to get the project entitled,” Bob says. The program may not be available much longer; Congress is scheduled to consider a bill to limit it.

Read more at BIZNOW

Robert Sonnenblick, Chairman of Sonnenblick Development LLC, has been chosen to moderate a panel: PERE Real Estate Summit in NY Nov 12 2015

Robert Sonnenblick, Chairman of Sonnenblick Development LLC, has been chosen to moderate a panel: PERE Real Estate Summit in NY Nov 12 2015
Press Release: New York City.

PERE Conference Corp. has announced that Los Angeles-based real estate developer, Mr. Robert Sonnenblick, Chairman of Sonnenblick Development LLC, has been chosen to moderate a real estate panel at their upcoming PERE Real Estate Summit in NY on November 11th, 2015.

The panel is titled: “The Cycle continues, a correction is inevitable…”.

For more info, go to www.perenews.com

Agenda

12:10 As the cycle continues a correction is inevitable: Balancing investments for a future downturn
How are we factoring the anticipation into our investment strategy now? Will there be appreciation in both long/short term assets?

  • Determining asset allocation for a bullet proof portfolio
  • Defining risk in tomorrow’s market
  • Total return vs. Cash flow – can we have both

Moderator:
Mr. Robert Sonnenblick, Chairman, Sonnenblick Development LLC

Panel Members:
Todd Henderson, Head of Real Estate, Americas Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management
Chris McEldowney, Managing Director, Real Estate, New York Life Real Estate
Jay Morgan, Senior Consultant, Courtland Partners

More info…

Robert Sonnenblick, Chairman of Sonnenblick Development LLC, will moderate the Real Estate Cycle panel at the Real Estate Capital Finance Forum in NYC Mon.Nov 9th, 2015

RECNY15_web_headerNov-9-2015

Press Release: New York City. New York

Real Estate Capital Magazine has announced that Los Angeles-based real estate developer Robert Sonnenblick, Chairman of Sonnenblick Development LLC, has joined the agenda for their upcoming Real Estate Capital Finance Forum to be held in NYC on Monday November 9th. Mr Sonnenblick will moderate the “Real Estate Cycle” panel. The conference will be held at the Convene Conference Center on Third Avenue, and will begin at 8am. Conference Registration is available at (646)-854-7950.

3:45 Panel session

Hear from the borrowers: where are we in the real estate cycle?

  • Where are the greatest opportunities for borrowers in the US market today?
  • Sector focus: what’s next? Will a focus on multi-family that drove the post-crash recovery shift to hospitality/retail/office/industrial?
  • What is the borrower’s response to the changing landscape of lenders?

Moderator:
Bob Sonnenblick, Chairman, Sonnenblick Development, LLC
Panelists:
Chris Niehaus, Partner, GreenOak Real Estate
Christa Chambers, Chief Financial Officer, Kemper Development Company
Phil Watkins, Principal, Megalith Capital

 

Click for more information

Bob Sonnenblick at Bisnow’s annual Lodging Investment and Innovation Series

Bob Sonnenblick EB5 Biznow

Bisnow/BLIS Hotel Conference – Washington DC

Oct 20, 2015

While Bill and Debbie were the highlight of the day, the 400 or so attendees were treated to a Sheila Johnson keynote and state of the hotel industry, covered yesterday. In the afternoon, the crowd was given an update on EB-5 financing from a panel of Polsinelli’s Dawn Lurie, Wright Johnson’s Aaron Goforth (he’s the one with the man-bun), Sonnenblick Development CEO Bob Sonnenblick, EB5 Capital founder Angel Brunner, who moderated in the style of Anderson Cooper, Homeier & Law’s Clem Turner, and NES Financial’s Reid Thomas. EB-5 is a vehicle for immigrants to invest in real estate. It’s a convoluted and complicated process, but it can be worth it. “The bottom line is always money,” Bob says. “The EB-5 mezzanine deal we just finished was at 6%. If you’re able to borrow mezz money at 6 instead of 12% to 13%, it’s going to save you millions of dollars over your transaction.”

click for full article on BIZNOW

Plans pulled for second golf course at Chambers Bay

The now legendary lone fir stands out amid the rolling landscape of the links style golf course at Chambers Bay. An 18-hole golf course and a large resort-hotel are no longer planned for Chambers Bay in University Place. Instead, Pierce County officials have asked the California developer behind the project for a smaller development. Dean J. Koepfler Staff file

The now legendary lone fir stands out amid the rolling landscape of the links style golf course at Chambers Bay. An 18-hole golf course and a large resort-hotel are no longer planned for Chambers Bay in University Place. Instead, Pierce County officials have asked the California developer behind the project for a smaller development. Dean J. Koepfler Staff file

By Brynn Grimley
Staff writer

An 18-hole golf course and a large resort-hotel are no longer planned for Chambers Bay in University Place.

Instead, Pierce County officials have asked the California developer behind the project for a smaller development.

“We didn’t feel from a county perspective that it was realistic to have a development predicated on the building of a new golf course,” deputy county executive Kevin Phelps said last week.

The county’s request came after the U.S. Open in June.

The space the USGA tournament took up outside the county-owned Chambers Bay golf course made county officials realize a second golf course didn’t make sense, Phelps said.

Last year, Los Angeles developer Bob Sonnenblick proposed a $150 million resort-style golf course and hotel on the southern portion of the 930-acre Chambers Creek property.

The course was planned for directly south of the Chambers Bay golf course with Chambers Creek Regional Park as a buffer. The hotel was proposed off Grandview Drive, near the entrance to the park.

“We feel that even though we could technically squeeze another 18 holes in, it might make it so we’re not competitive for a future (golf) event,” Phelps said.

County leaders want to host future golf tournaments, including another U.S. Open at Chambers Bay.

Sonnenblick, who owns Sonnenblick Development, is working on a new proposal.

“We understand the county’s reason for this decision, and we have no problem with it,” Sonnenblick wrote in an email to The News Tribune last week.

Losing the golf course means a smaller hotel, he said.

“Clearly without the second ‘resort’ (golf) course we would no longer be able to justify building a large, 300-plus room resort hotel in one big phase,” Sonnenblick wrote.

Previously a dramatic, five-story hotel with sweeping views of Chambers Bay golf course and Puget Sound was planned.

Plans included a 258-room hotel, conference center, 180-seat cafe and restaurant, and a swimming pool. The conference center was proposed for what now is the county’s environmental services building, with a ballroom added on.

“We have redone our feasibility studies and appraisals to divide this hotel development into two phases,” Sonnenblick wrote, “the first of which will be approximately half the size of what we had planned before.”

Sonnenblick expects to have new project renderings to the County Council soon.

“We are very excited about how the new, smaller, hotel layout sits (on) the land parcel and how well it works with the site’s current long-term master plan,” he said.

The county’s decision to request a scaled-back development was “partially economic and partially making sure that we have the ability to use that property for a variety of uses,” Phelps said.

After seeing architectural drawings for the hotel a year ago, at least two County Council members cited concern with impeding the public’s ability to access the site.

Public amenities include trails, parks and playground as well as the golf course.

“That is the public’s property,” Councilwoman Connie Ladenburg said at the time. “To make sure that (residents) still feel that that’s their property, I think, is very key with any development that we do out there.”

Sonnenblick maintains he will develop a project that promotes pedestrian accessibility to the site.

Brynn Grimley: 253-597-8467

brynn.grimley@thenewstribune.com

@bgrimley

Robert Sonnenblick Speaker at 2nd Annual Crowdfunding Forum for Real Estate Sept 16-17 2015 Santa Monica, CA

Robert Sonnenblick Key Speaker at IMN 2nd Annual Crowdfunding Forum for Real Estate West

Robert Sonnenblick, Chairman of Sonnenblick Development BOB SONNENBLICK
Chairman
Sonnenblick Development, LLC

Mr. Robert Sonnenblick, Principal of Sonnenblick Development, LLC, is a graduate of the Wharton School of Finance of the University of Pennsylvania with more than 30 years of experience in various aspects of real estate development and real estate finance. From 1981 to 1991 Mr. Sonnenblick was the driving force and power behind Sonnenblick-Goldman Corporation of California. Mr. Sonnenblick completed over $1.5 Billion of commercial real estate transactions on the West Coast, and as a result is regarded as one of the West Coast’s leaders in the field of commercial real estate finance. Among the more notable projects for which Mr. Sonnenblick personally structured the financing for are The Beaudry Center, Los Angeles, California ($197 million), the Ritz Carlton Hotel, Pasadena, California ($97 million), One Waterfront Plaza, Honolulu, Hawaii ($100 million), and the Los Angeles World Trade Center, Los Angeles, California ($55 million).

In 1991 Mr. Sonnenblick was appointed Director of Development for the New Jersey and L.A. MetroMalls, with the responsibility for oversight and direction of the design, financing, and leasing programs for two proposed $250 million enclosed regional malls totaling 1.2 million square feet each. Mr. Sonnenblick personally oversaw more than 1 million square feet of leases in connection with this position as well as arranging the necessary debt and equity financing. The New Jersey project opened to one of the strongest starts in the history of the United States mall industry. It is now re-named Jersey Gardens Outlet Mall.

In addition, Mr. Sonnenblick was an original development partner of the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel. This 360-room, $90 million hotel was sold for $125 million.
Prior to forming Sonnenblick Development LLC, Mr. Sonnenblick was the senior partner in a Los Angeles-based real estate development firm (Sonnenblick Del Rio Development) which specialized in P-3 public-private partnerships, specifically the development of four government leased office buildings across the Los Angeles basin. During his tenure there as Chairman, Mr. Sonnenblick successfully developed nearly 1 million square feet of government-leased buildings, occupied by such tenants as U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department, Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services, The Small Business Administration (SBA), the LA County Mental Health Dept, The Social Security Administration, and Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services.

Mr. Sonnenblick is a frequent speaker and panelist at various real estate-related functions, such as those hosted by Deloitte Touche, ICSC, Value Retail News, Bloomberg News, Crittenden Conference Co., USC Real Estate, UCLA Real Estate, IMN Real Estate Conferences, Bisnow Media, Opal Conference Group, iGlobal Forum, and the Institute for International Research. Mr. Sonnenblick is a published author on subjects ranging from commercial architecture to general real estate market conditions. In addition to Mr. Sonnenblick’s expertise in development, finance, and joint ventures, Mr. Sonnenblick has also been certified as an expert witness in the areas of real estate bankruptcy/foreclosure and finance. Mr. Sonnenblick is a qualified expert witness on the topic of Commercial Real Estate Interest Rates and Finance for the United States Federal Court System in numerous different jurisdictions across the State of Calif, Nevada, and Arizona.

2nd Annual Crowdfunding Forum for Real Estate September 16-17 2015 Santa Monica, CA

For more information click here.

Bob Sonnenblick has agreed to join the “EB-5 and Crowdfunding” panel: October 7th 2015 Scottsdale, Arizona.

The_Lodging_Conference_Oct_6-9_2015

LodgePress Release: Scottsdale, Arizona

The Lodging Conference, one of the nation’s premier Hotel Industry annual events, is pleased to announce that Los Angeles-based hotel developer Bob Sonnenblick, Chairman of Sonnenblick Development LLC, has agreed to join the “EB-5 and Crowdfunding” panel at their upcoming conference on October 7th at The Arizona Biltmore Hotel in Scottsdale, Arizona. The panel will focus on alternative methods to fund new hotel projects and acquisitions.

11:00 – 12:15
CONCURRENT THINK TANKS

T-2: EB-5 and CrowdFunding: Innovative Options for Your Next Hotel Project

Learn how EB-5 and crowdfunding work as the panel reviews the benefits and pitfalls including legal, regulatory and legislative issues, fees, risk, marketing and timeline to meet your fundraising goal for new construction, acquisition or renovation.

Moderator:
David Eisen, Editor-in-Chief Hotel Management Magazine

Panelists:
Tim L. Edgar, Founder & President, Hotel Innvestor
Julie Richter, Chief Financial Officer Concord Hospitality Enterprises Company

Bob Sonnenblick, Chairman, Sonnenblick Development LLC
Gregory Steinhauer, President, American Life Inc.

For more information, please call (800)-252-3540 or email: info@lodgingconference.com
Or go to: www.Lodgingconference.com

Crowd Funding Forum for Real Estate (West) September 16-17 2015 Santa Monica, CA

NY-based IMN Real Estate Conferences is pleased to announce its 2nd Annual Crowdfunding Forum for Real Estate, to be held on September 17th at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica. The lead panel will be moderated by Los Angeles developer Bob Sonnenblick, Chairman of Sonnenblick development LLC, and it will focus on: The Future of Crowdfunding as a Money Source for Real Estate Projects

IMN Crowdfunding Conf Press Release: Santa Monica, California

NY-based IMN Real Estate Conferences is pleased to announce its 2nd Annual Crowdfunding Forum for Real Estate, to be held on September 17th at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica.

The lead panel will be moderated by Los Angeles developer Bob Sonnenblick, Chairman of Sonnenblick development LLC, and it will focus on:
The Future of Crowdfunding as a Money Source for Real Estate Projects.
For more info, go to www.IMN.org or call (212)-224-3207.

9/17 12:15 PM The Future of Real Estate Crowdfunding… How Scalable is it?

  • Who will be the real players in 2 years
  • With all this portal $$ floating around is scalability now a closer reality?
  • Portal growth in numbers… How many actual players are out there? How many pretenders?
  • Will banks and other established lenders buy the portals and the knowledge/ technology?
  • Industry growth predictions
  • Going to independent broker dealers
  • Leaving the crowd… Partnering with institutional investors
  • What deals have funded so far?
  • Why are they only small projects?
  • Will this structure work for large projects?
  • Construction deals vs Existing projects?
  • What real estate product types work best for CrowdFunding?…Why?

Bob Sonnenblick Moderator

Bob Sonnenblick has joined the Real Estate Finance panel for the 3rd Annual Real Estate CFO Forum – May 4th 2015

PRESS RELEASE: 4-20-15

Los Angeles-based real estate developer Bob Sonnenblick has joined the Real Estate Finance panel at the upcoming CFO Forum Conference in San Diego on May 4th. The conference is run by IMN Conferences Inc and will be held at The Park Hyatt Aviara Resort in Carlsbad. The topic of Sonnenblick’s panel is “Real Estate Fundraising: Navigating Different Sources of Capital”.

Los Angeles-based real estate developer Bob Sonnenblick has joined the Real Estate Finance pane

10:00 AM Fundraising: Navigating Different Sources of Capital
  • From Foreign, Commercial Banks, Funds, Mezz, weigh various costs and benefits associated with different sources of capital.
  • Understanding the current capital climate.

Moderator:

Joseph V. Delaney, CEO, J.V. DELANEY & ASSOCIATES [
BIO ]

Panelists:

Jeff Zuckerman, CFO Western Regions, ALLIANCE RESIDENTIAL COMPANY
[BIO ]
Jerome Fink, Managing Partner, THE BASCOM GROUP, LLC
[BIO ]
Tim Trifilo, Tax Partner and National Tax Lead, COHNREZNICK LLP
Charlie Kellogg, CFO/COO, SINGERMAN REAL ESTATE, LLC
[BIO ]
Bob Sonnenblick, Chairman, SONNENBLICK DEVELOPMENT, LLC
[ BIO ]

Joseph Delaney CEO J.V. DELANEY and ASSOCIATES
Delaney
> Jeff Zuckerman: CFO Western Regions ALLIANCE RESIDENTIAL COMPANY
Zuckerman
Jerome Fink: Managing Partner THE BASCOM GROUP, LLC
Fink
Tim Trifilo Tax Partner and National Tax Lead COHNREZNICK LLP
Trifilo
Charlie Kellogg CFO/COO SINGERMAN REAL ESTATE, LLC
Kellogg
Bob Sonnenblick Chairman SONNENBLICK DEVELOPMENT, LLC
Sonnenblick

Bob Sonnenblick to Moderate: California Real Estate Development – April 28-30 2015 – San Diego, California

Wednesday, April 29, 2015:  Omni San Diego: 302 - Development 2015: What is Going Up, All Around Us? Bob Sonnenblick Moderator

Hotel developer Bob Sonnenblick, Chairman of Los Angeles based Sonnenblick Development LLC, has been chosen by Crittenden Conferences Inc. to moderate its “California Real Estate Development – 2015” panel at the upcoming Crittenden National Real Estate Conference in San Diego, California.

The conference will be held at The S.D. Omni Hotel, next door to The San Diego Convention Center, on April 28-30, 2015.

#302 – Development 2015: What is Going Up, All Around Us?

Hour 3: Wednesday, April 29th – 12:00pm – 1:00pm

  • Updates on construction activity in favored markets (commercial and multifamily market)
  • Updates on construction activity in real estate product types (apartments, hotels, retail, etc.)
  • Construction cost discussion (increases in materials or labor this past year?)
  • Rent/market updates and construction lender updates

Moderator: Bob Sonnenblick, Chairman – Sonnenblick Real Estate LLC
John Santry, Executive Vice President of Acquisitions and Development – Shopoff Realty Investments, L.P.
Christopher Piche, Vice President of Development – The Mayer Corp
Mark Strauss, Managing Director – Cohen Financial

Session 302 Brochure

For more info, go to www.Crittendenconferences.com

Bob Sonnenblick to Moderate California Real Estate Development - April 28-30 2015 - San Diego, California

Crittenden_Conf_2015_Small_Skyline

crittenden


Bob Sonnenblick recording : The Crowdfunding Forum for Real Estate March 2015: New York

Session Chair:

  • Bob Sonnenblick, Chairman, SONNENBLICK DEVELOPMENT, LLC [ BIO ]

Panel Participants:

  • Al Bokhour, President, BOKHOUR DEVELOPMENTS
  • Arik Lifshitz, CEO, DSA PROPERTY GROUP [ BIO ]
  • Alex Sifakis, President, JWB REAL ESTATE CAPITAL [ BIO ]
  • Andrew Broeren, Director, PARAGON INVESTORS [ BIO ]
  • Chris Baker, CEO, TAO INVESTMENTS LLC
  • Max Sharkansky, Managing Principal, TRION PROPERTIES [ BIO ]

Monday, March 9th, 2015 1:45 PM The Developers Due Diligence Perspective… Comparing the Major Platforms.. Why did you Choose your Crowdfunder to Raise Capital?

  • How did you find the platform?
  • Was broker/dealer affiliation a factor?
  • Did you consider/use a non-US platform?
  • Platform turnaround time
  • Due diligence practices from the platform side
  • Platform management model and experience
  • Fee comparisons
  • Did you look at some of the newer platforms?
  • Evaluating knowledge of, and experience in, securities industry
  • Tools for crowd-vetting
  • Process for onboarding investors
  • Costs of offering

County votes to approve Sonnenblick Development to build Hyatt Place at Sacramento airport

County votes to approve Hyatt Place at Sacramento airport

County votes to approve Hyatt Place at Sacramento airport

$24 million hotel would have 135-room capacity

By Leticia Ordaz

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KCRA) —The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 on Tuesday to approve a planned $24 million hotel at the Sacramento International Airport — and it’s expected to bring hundreds of new jobs to the region.

The hotel will be funded by a developer who is planning on building a five-story, 135-room Hyatt Place.

Los Angeles-based Sonnenblick Development is proposing to put a Hyatt hotel in a grassy area next to a parking garage, an open space between the airport’s two terminals.

“(It will be) very easily accessible from Terminal A and Terminal B,” said Robert Sonnenblick, with Sonneblick Development. “You fall out of baggage claim right into our lobby.”

The project will start this spring and generate about 300 construction jobs in the next two years.

Airport travelers are excited already.

“It’s a good thing for Sacramento,” Sydney Dawes said Tuesday. “Growth is great.”

Read full coverage: http://www.kcra.com/news/local-news/news-sacramento/county-set-to-vote-on-hyatt-place-at-sac-international/30945560

County votes to approve Hyatt Place at Sacramento airport

The Sacramento International Airport could finally have a new hotel if plans that have been years in the making are approved next week.

24 million hotel will have 135-room capacity
By Leticia Ordaz
8:36 PM PST Jan 27, 2015

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KCRA) —The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 on Tuesday to approve a planned $24 million hotel at the Sacramento International Airport — and it’s expected to bring hundreds of new jobs to the region.

The hotel will be funded by a developer who is planning on building a five-story, 135-room Hyatt Place.

Los Angeles-based Sonnenblick Development is proposing to put a Hyatt hotel in a grassy area next to a parking garage, an open space between the airport’s two terminals.

“(It will be) very easily accessible from Terminal A and Terminal B,” said Robert Sonnenblick, with Sonneblick Development. “You fall out of baggage claim right into our lobby.”

The project will start this spring and generate about 300 construction jobs in the next two years.


Airport travelers are excited already.

“It’s a good thing for Sacramento,” Sydney Dawes said Tuesday. “Growth is great.”

An existing hotel was torn down more than six years ago to make room for the new Terminal B. The recession stopped plans for a new hotel at that time.

The economic revival doesn’t stop with the hotel.
Construction crews got an early start Tuesday morning at Bonney Field, the home of Sacramento Republic FC. The team is spending $1.6 million of its own money to expand the stadium’s seating from holding about 8,000 to now 11,000 fans at the Cal Expo site.

The project will send a strong message to Major League Soccer, a Sac Republic spokeswoman said.

“To show them that we can grow to a threshold of 11,000 — and then maybe as high as 14,000 in the future — (it) really shows that there is a demand and a market here in Sacramento,” Erika Bjork told KCRA 3.

Sacramento is among the cities in the running for MLS’s 24th and final franchise. Officials expect the league to make an announcement on expansion plans by June.

“We’re standing where we’ll probably have about 4,000 to 4,500 additional seating in the bleacher section — our most ardent and passionate supporters — our supporters including Tower Bridge Battalion,” said Bjork while showing KCRA 3 around on Tuesday.

Macy’s will also receive tax incentives to set up a warehouse at the former Campbell’s site. The online distribution center for wedding gifts and other goods will generate as many as 350 jobs.

“The warehousing jobs usually average $15 to $20 an hour, which is competitive for our area,” said Troy Givans, the Sacramento County director of economic development.

The worksite for the newly renamed Capital Commerce Center will become a magnet for new jobs.

Sacramento County Approves New Build 135-room Hyatt Place Hotel to be Located at Airport

Hotel-Online_logo

Tony Bizjak | The Sacramento Bee | January 28, 2015 3:26pm

Jan. 27–Travelers to and from Sacramento International Airport soon will have a place to stay overnight on airport property, although not as grand as once planned.

Sacramento County supervisors Tuesday morning approved a new five-story airport business hotel, seven years after tearing down a smaller one.

The county will team with developer Sonnenblick Industries LLC to construct a 135-room Hyatt Place within walking distance of both airport terminals. The hotel will include an indoor pool and spa, fitness room, dining area and 3,500 square feet of meeting space.

Sonnenblick, a Southern California developer, has built hotels adjacent to medical facilities, but company principal Bob Sonnenblick said this is the first of what he hopes will be several airport hotels his company will develop in the next few years.

The hotel will sit on a triangle of grass adjacent to the north side of the parking garage between the airport’s two terminals. Sonnenblick and airport officials say the hotel will be a major amenity for travelers from around Northern California who want to stay overnight before an early morning flight. The hotel also likely will serve business people and those visiting the Capitol on business.

Sonnenblick said the location on airport grounds should allow his company to charge a premium room rate. He estimated an average night at the hotel would cost $150.

“The advantage we have is that the costumer does not have to get into a minivan and drive 10 to 15 minutes each way to stay at a hotel,” he said. “Our hotel, you literally walk out of baggage claim and into our front door.”

The hotel represents a success for airport officials, who are trying to add amenities and promote their facility as a premier Northern California airport. It is a comedown, though, from what airport officials planned a few years ago. Originally, the new hotel was to be a high-rise built directly on top of the new Terminal B, allowing hotel guests to go from room to plane without stepping outside. The hotel’s lobby would have opened directly onto the terminal ticketing area.

But that plan proved too costly, and was shelved during airport construction. Sonnenblick later explored the possibility of building two hotels elsewhere on airport grounds, one upscale with extensive meeting and ballroom space, the other more modest. Marketing studies, however, determined the upscale hotel would not pencil out, he said.

The proposed hotel will, however, be larger and better appointed than the former Host Airport Hotel, he said. “We are going to build this beautifully.”

The project has been delayed by a flood-related federal moratorium on most new construction in the Natomas basin. But those restrictions are expected to be removed in May or June, and Sonnenblick said his company will be ready immediately to submit project plans to the county for approval.

Sonnenblick expects to spend about $24 million building the hotel, which is expected to open in late 2017.

The developer will pay the airport a one-time fee of $2.46 million for use of 164 ground-floor spaces in the parking garage for guest parking. Sonnenblick will also pay the airport a minimum of $900,000 in total rent across the first four years: $150,000 annually in the first two years and $300,000 annually in the next two years. Thereafter, rent payments will be based on a percentage of hotel gross revenue, estimated at $475,000 in the fifth year.

Sonnenblick has told the county it intends to enter into a “labor harmony agreement” with UNITE HERE Hotel & Restaurant Employee Union Local 49 when hiring workers to operate the hotel, according to a staff report.

Call The Bee’s Tony Bizjak, (916) 321-1059. Bee editor Kevin Yamamura contributed to this report.

CBS13: 5-Story Hotel Approved For Sacramento International Airport

5-Story Hotel Approved For Sacramento International Airport

5-Story Hotel Approved For Sacramento International Airport

Sacramento airport reaches hotel construction deal with developer Sonnenblick

A rendering of the proposed hotel. (Credit: Sonnenblick Development LLC)

5-Story Hotel Approved For Sacramento International Airport
January 27, 2015 1:13 PM

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Work will go forward on a hotel at the Sacramento International Airport after Sacramento County supervisors approved the project today.

Sonnenblick Development LLC and the Sacramento County Dept. of Airports will build a 5-story, 135 room Hyatt Place hotel next the parking garage at the airport, county officials announced on Friday.

“Our customers have requested the convenience of an onsite hotel for many years and we are now at a point where we are ready to move forward,” said Director of Airports John Wheat said in a statement.

Officials have been looking to build a hotel at the airport since the previous airport was demolished in 2008 to make room Terminal B.

Construction could begin as early as June 2015, and the hotel would open in 2017, airport officials say.

Sonnenblick is reportedly investing $23 million to build the hotel.

5-Story Hotel Approved For Sacramento International Airport

Sacramento County approves Hyatt Place hotel at airport

Sacramento County approves Hyatt Place hotel at airport

BEE METRO STAFF
01/27/2015 12:00 PM 01/27/2015 1:35 PM

Sacramento County supervisors Tuesday morning approved a new five-story business hotel at Sacramento International Airport, seven years after tearing down the old facility.

Supervisors voted 5-0 to work with developer Sonnenblick Industries LLC to construct a 135-room Hyatt Place within walking distance of both airport terminals. The hotel will include an indoor pool and spa, fitness room, dining area and 3,500 square feet of meeting space.Sonnenblick Hyatt Place Sacramento Airportrendering

Sonnenblick has told the county it intends to enter into a “labor harmony agreement” with UNITE HERE Hotel & Restaurant Employee Union Local 49 when hiring workers to operate the hotel, according to a staff report.

The developer will pay the airport a one-time fee of $2.46 million for use of 164 ground-floor spaces in the parking garage for guest parking. Sonnenblick will also pay the airport a minimum of $900,000 in total rent across the first four years: $150,000 annually in the first two years and $300,000 annually in the next two years. Thereafter, rent payments will be based on a percentage of hotel gross revenue, estimated at $475,000 in the fifth year.

Though they support building a new airport hotel, some supervisors were not impressed Tuesday with the first drawing of the Hyatt Place hotel, telling staff that they want to review the structure’s design in the future.

“It appears it’s a concrete block facade,” said Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan. “It needs to blend in better.”

Hotel construction is expected to take two to three years. Sonnenblick is projected to spend about $24 million building the hotel.

Bee staff writer Brad Branan contributed to this report.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article8307690.html#storylink=cpy

Is a new hotel coming to Sacramento Int’l Airport?

The Sacramento International Airport could finally have a new hotel if plans that have been years in the making are approved next week.

Developer proposes to put Hyatt hotel at airport

By 7:25 PM PST Jan 23, 2015

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KCRA) —The Sacramento International Airport could finally have a new hotel if plans that have been years in the making are approved next week.

Sonnenblick Development, a Los Angeles-based developer, is proposing to put a Hyatt Place hotel in a grassy area next to a parking garage, an open space between the airport’s two terminals.

Watch report: Plans in the works to build hotel at Sac Int’l

“It really benefits the people within our primary region,” said Sacramento County’s airport director, John Wheat. “A region all the way up to Redding, within 100 miles of this airport. It is our primary airport where a lot of our passengers come from.”

An existing hotel was torn down more than six years ago to make room for the new Terminal B and the recession stopped plans for a new hotel at that time.

The new terminal, which cost roughly $1 billion, has left the airport in debt and forced budget cuts.

Wheat said a new hotel, in addition to giving travelers a convenient place to stay, would also bring in new money.

“Everything helps, I mean, it’s a revenue,” Wheat said.

The $24 million in construction costs would be paid by the developer, who would pay the airport about $2.5 million up front, and several hundred thousand dollars a year to lease the property.

On Friday, some travelers said a new hotel would make traveling more convenient for out-of-town visitors and for travelers from around Northern California.

“If you’re leaving on a long trip and have a very early departure, that might be a good idea,” said Neil Robinson, who said he lives in Folsom.

See also:

Video Transcript

INTERVIEW WITH SABRINA RODRIGUEZ RIGHT NOW ON KCRA.COM. PLANS ARE MOVING FORWARD TO BUILD A HOTEL AT SACRAMENTO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. IF COUNTY LEADERS APPROVE THIS PLAN, THE HOTEL WOULD BE BUILT HERE IN THIS GRASSY AREA BETWEEN TERMINAL A AND TERMINAL B. AND THE NEW HYATT PLACE HOTEL WOULD LOOK LIKE THIS. KCRA 3’S SHAROKINA SHAMS IS LIVE AT THE AIRPORT AND THESE PLANS AREN’T REALLY NEW. NOW IT LOOKS LIKE IT WILL HAPPEN. THAT’S RIGHT. THESE PLANS HAVE BEEN A LONG TIME IN THE MAKING. WE CAN TAKE A LOOK OUTSIDE OF THE WINDOWS AND GIVE YOU A LOOK AT THE SITE BEHIND ME LOOKING OUT THE WINDOWS OF THE BACK OF TERMINAL B. THE HOTEL WOULD GO WHERE THAT ART WORK SITS OUTSIDE A PARKING GARAGE. IT COULD MEAN A MUCH-NEEDED FINANCIAL BOOST FOR A COUNTY AIRPORT THAT HAS A LOT OF DEBT. DUSTIN BILTON IS VISITING SACRAMENTO TODAY WITH HIS 18-MONTH-OLD SON. NORMALLY, HE’S HERE ON BUSINESS AND LIKES THE IDEA OF A HOTEL AT SACRAMENTO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. FOR ME AS A MANAGER, IF I WANT TO HOST A MEETING HERE, IT GIVES ME ANOTHER OPTION, TOO. FOR ANOTHER REASON THAT WE WOULDN’T GO TO SAN FRANCISCO. IT WOULD GIVE SACRAMENTO ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY. THIS ART SHOWS WHAT HYATT IS PLANNING — A NEW, 135-ROOM HOTEL LIKE THIS HYATT PLACE HOTEL WHICH WAS BUILT IN ROSEVILLE, NEAR THUNDER VALLEY CASINO FIVE YEARS AGO. EVERYBODY’S GOING TO HAVE JOBS. IT’S KIND OF A PEBBLE IN THE WATER, IT GOES OUT FROM THERE. AN EXISTING HOTEL HERE WAS TORN DOWN SIX YEARS AGO TO MAKE ROOM FOR THE NEW TERMINAL B. WITH A COST OF $1 BILLION, THIS TERMINAL HAS ALSO BROUGHT DEBT TO THE AIRPORT AND FORCED BUDGET CUTS. BUT A NEW HOTEL, SINCE IT WOULD BE PAID FOR BY THE DEVELOPER, COULD HELP PUT A DENT IN THAT. HYATT WOULD PAY THE AIRPORT $2.5 MILLION UP FRONT AND THEN SEVERAL HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS A YEAR TO LEASE THE PROPERTY. JOHN WHEAT IS THE COUNTY’S AIRPORT DIRECTOR. EVERYTHING HELPS. I MEAN, IT’S A REVENUE. IT REALLY BENEFITS THE PEOPLE WITHIN OUR PRIMARY REGION, A REGION ALL THE WAY UP TO REDDING, YOU KNOW, WITHIN 100 MILES OF THIS AIRPORT. THERE WERE PLANS FOR A NEW HOTEL AS TERMINAL B WAS GOING UP, BUT THEY WERE SCRAPPED BECAUSE OF THE RECESSION. TODAY THOUGH, IT WASN’T JUST FAR-AWAY TRAVELERS WHO TOLD US THEY’D STAY IN A HOTEL HERE. NEIL ROBINSON LIVES IN FOLSOM. IF YOU’RE LEAVING ON A LONG TRIP AND HAVE A VERY EARLY DEPARTURE, THAT MIGHT BE A GOOD IDEA. IN CASE YOU’RE CURIOUS, HYATT IS SET TO SPEND $24 MILLION BUILDING THE HOTEL. THIS ISN’T A DONE DEAL UNTIL THE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS APPROVES IT. THEY’RE SET TO CONSIDER IT AT THEIR MEETING NEXT WEEK.

 

Sacramento airport hotel project worth at least $23M

Sacramento-Business-Journal

Mark Anderson
Staff Writer- Sacramento Business Journal

A $23 million Hyatt Place hotel proposed for Sacramento International Airport could be open in 2017.

This rendering depicts a Hyatt Place hotel proposed for Sacramento International Airport. It could be open in 2017, if Sacramento County approves a development agreement. Shimahara Illustration

This rendering depicts a Hyatt Place hotel proposed for Sacramento International Airport. It could be open in 2017, if Sacramento County approves a development agreement.
Shimahara Illustration

Sacramento County supervisors at their meeting Tuesday will consider a development agreement with Los Angeles-based real estate development firm Sonnenblick Development LLC to build a 135-room hotel between the airport’s main commercial terminals. The hotel would feature indoor pool and spa, fitness room, a dining area and 3,500 square feet of meeting space.

Hospitality company Sonnenblick-SMF LLC would develop and operate the hotel, paying the county a fixed fee of $900,000 though the first four years of operations, and then a percentage of gross revenue. That scale would be 5 percent from years five through 19, 6 percent in years 20 through 39 and then 7 percent of gross in years 40 through 50.

The developer also would pay a one-time fee of $2.5 million to use 164 spaces in the airport’s parking garage.

“Our customers have requested the convenience of an onsite hotel for many years and we are now at a point where we are ready to move forward,” said Sacramento County Airport System director John Wheat.

If approved, construction could begin by June, when federal flood map building restrictions on the Natomas Basin are lifted.

A $23 million Hyatt Place hotel proposed for Sacramento International Airport could be open in 2017, if Sacramento County approves a development agreement. This is the site. Sacramento County Department of Airports

A $23 million Hyatt Place hotel proposed for Sacramento International Airport could be open in 2017, if Sacramento County approves a development agreement. This is the site.
Sacramento County Department of Airports

Hyatt Place is a limited-service property. Locally, there are Hyatt Place properties in Davis, Rancho Cordova and Roseville.

Sacramento County, which operates the airport, has been seeking a hotel for more than a decade. The previous hotel at the airport, the Host Airport Hotel, was successful, but the small hotel was demolished for the expansion of the airport’s new terminal and parking garage.

Sonnenblick-SMF LLC would negotiate a contract with the UNITE-HERE Local 49, the local hotel and restaurant employees union. The previous hotel had been a union shop.

The county says if the Hyatt Place is successful, a second hotel is possible.

The airport is a demand driver for the hotel. Many flights out of Sacramento leave very early in the morning, so travelers from all over Northern California could use the hotel to arrive the night before traveling. Also, the hotel, like the airport, is right off Interstate 5, which can generate demand from drivers. Another potential business for the hotel is air crew rooms. Many airlines have contracts that require them house their flight crews in nearby hotels.

New Hotel In The Works At Sacramento International Airport

CBS Sacramento

January 23, 2015 1:52 PM

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A Los Angeles developer is looking to build a hotel at the Sacramento International Airport, county officials announced Friday.

Airport officials will be meeting the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors come Tuesday for approval of the plan. Sonnenblick Development LLC and the Sacramento County Dept. of Airports reportedly have an agreement to build a 5-story, 135 room Hyatt Place hotel next the parking garage at the airport.Sonnenblick Hyatt Place Sacramento Airportrendering

“Our customers have requested the convenience of an onsite hotel for many years and we are now at a point where we are ready to move forward,” said Director of Airports John Wheat in a release.

Officials have been looking to build a hotel at the airport since Host Hotel was demolished in 2008 to make room Terminal B.

If the new hotel plan is approved, construction could begin as early as June 2015 and the hotel would open in 2017, airport officials say.

Sonnenblick is reportedly investing $23 million to build the hotel.

Airport Seeks Approval for Five-Story Hotel

The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors will decide Tuesday whether to approve an agreement that will allow a five-story hotel to be built at the Sacramento International Airport by Sonnenblick Development
January 24, 2015 by bboyd Leave a Comment

THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors will decide Tuesday whether to approve an agreement that will allow a five-story hotel to be built at the Sacramento International Airport.

The Sacramento County Department of Airports will go before the board on Jan. 27 to request approval of an agreement with a developer to build a long-sought onsite hotel at the airport. The Sacramento County Department of Airports is responsible for planning, developing, operating and maintaining the county’s four airports: Sacramento International Airport, Executive Airport, Mather Airport and Franklin Field.

Sonnenblick Development LLC has proposed building five-story, 135-room Hyatt Place hotel with an indoor pool and spa, fitness room, dining area and 3,500 square feet of meeting space.

The Los Angeles-based developer plans to lease a 1.4-acre site adjacent to the parking garage for construction of the hotel, as well as 164 spaces on the ground level of the garage. The hotel would be accessible to passengers of both terminals.

Construction could begin as early as June 2015, when federal building restrictions on the Natomas Basin are expected to be lifted. In that scenario, the hotel would open in 2017 or 2018.

Sonnenblick has agreed to invest at least $23 million to build the facility. The Department of Airports will receive a one-time payment of $2.46 million for the use of the parking garage spaces. Rent for the hotel site will be fixed for the first four years for an amount totaling $900,000. In subsequent years, rent will be paid as a percentage of gross revenue.

An in-terminal hotel was in the works for the new Terminal B but was removed from plans due to the economic downturn. Airport staff performed a site analysis and in 2011 issued a Request for Proposals for hotel development. Sonnenblick responded to the RFP with a proposal to develop two hotels. If the Hyatt Place is successful, a second hotel is a possibility.

The onsite Host Hotel was demolished in 2008 to make room for Terminal B construction. Under the agreement going to county supervisors this week, Sonnenblick LLC would pay for construction and assume the financial risk associated with owning and operating the hotel.

The item is number 51 on the agenda and is scheduled for 10:45 a.m. Tuesday. Click here for more information

– See more at: http://www.natomasbuzz.com/2015/01/airport-seeks-approval-for-five-story-hotel/

Hotel Planned for Sacramento International Airport

fox40

Posted 12:32 PM, January 23, 2015, by , Updated at 12:37pm, January 23, 2015

SACRAMENTO-

Sacramento International Airport is seeking approval for plans to build a five-story, 135-room hotel onsite.

A Los Angeles-based developer is proposing to build a Hyatt Place hotel near the parking garage, with access to both terminals. Plans include an indoor pool and spa, fitness room, dining area and 3,500 square foot meeting space.

The Sacramento County Department of Airports will take their plan to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

If approved, construction could begin this summer when building restrictions in the Natomas area are expected to be lifted. It could take more than a year to build the hotel.

An onsite hotel was demolished almost six years ago to make room for the new Terminal B. The new plans have the developer,

hotel31
hotel41

This rendering depicts a Hyatt Place hotel proposed for Sacramento International Airport. It could be open in 2017, if Sacramento County approves a development agreement. Shimahara Illustration

This rendering depicts a Hyatt Place hotel proposed for Sacramento International Airport. It could be open in 2017, if Sacramento County approves a development agreement.Shimahara Illustration

Sacramento airport reaches hotel construction deal

Sacramento airport reaches hotel construction deal

By Tony Bizjak tbizjak@sacbee.com
01/23/2015 9:31 PM

Seven years after tearing down the old airport hotel, Sacramento International Airport has reached a deal with a private developer to build a new facility on site – a five-story hotel that will sit within short walking distance of both passenger terminals.Sacramento airport reaches hotel construction deal with developer Sonnenblick

The deal, years in the making, will provide airport customers with a privately built 135-room Hyatt Place. The hotel will include an indoor pool and spa, fitness room, dining area and 3,500 square feet of meeting space.

Airport director John Wheat called the hotel deal a double bonus, returning a major passenger amenity to airport grounds and providing a needed income boost. Airport officials have sought ways to boost revenue to pay down a $1 billion debt load from the recent construction of a new terminal and passenger concourse building.

“It is definitely a nice convenience to our passengers,” Wheat said. “We look at it as a customer service. And, secondly, it generates additional revenue to the airport system.”

The developer, Sonnenblick Industries LLC of Southern California, has been negotiating for two years with the county on the deal. Sonnenblick , the sole company to respond to the airport’s request for proposals, specializes in government buildings but has built a number of hotels and increased its hotel development in recent years.

The airport tore down the previous on-site hotel in 2008 to make room for Terminal B. Officials had originally planned to build a new hotel several years ago as part of the Terminal B expansion project, but were forced to eliminate it as a cost-saving move during the recession.

Until recently, the airport and other Natomas-area landowners have been unable to build new structures because of a de facto building moratorium until flood improvement funding was authorized. That moratorium appears ready to be lifted this spring or summer.

Airport officials will present the deal to the county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday for approval.

According to a staff report for that meeting, Sonnenblick will build the hotel on a 1.4-acre site it will lease from the airport next to the parking garage. The developer will pay the airport a one-time fee of $2.46 million to use 164 ground-floor spaces in the garage for guest parking.

The company also will pay the airport an annual $900,000 in rent for the first four years. In year five and beyond, the rent will be set at a percentage of hotel gross revenue, estimated to be about $475,000 in year five.

The hotel construction cost, to be borne by Sonnenblick, is expected to be about $24 million. Construction is expected to take two to three years.

The hotel site will be on a triangular grassy area, currently unused, at the north end of the parking garage.

Call The Bee’s Tony Bizjak, (916) 321-1059.

Sacramento County considers Hyatt Place hotel for airport

Sacramento-Business-Journal

Jan 23, 2015, 7:25am PST
Mark Anderson Staff Writer- Sacramento Business Journal

Sacramento County considers Hyatt Place hotel for airport

Todd Quam | Digital Sky Aerial Imaging
In a major step forward for Sacramento International Airport, county supervisors on Tuesday will consider a development agreement for a 135-room Hyatt Place hotel to be built between the two passenger terminals.

In a major step forward for Sacramento International Airport, county supervisors on Tuesday will consider a development agreement for a 135-room Hyatt Place hotel to be built between the two passenger terminals.

Sacramento County, which operates the airport, has been seeking a hotel for more than a decade. The previous hotel at the airport, the Host Airport Hotel, was successful, but the small hotel was demolished for the expansion of the airport’s new terminal and parking garage.

The five-story hotel would be just north of new parking structure at the airport, between the two commercial airline terminals.

Hospitality company Sonnenblick-SMF LLC would develop and operate the hotel, paying the county a fixed fee of $900,000 though the first four years of operations, and then a scale of percentage of gross revenue. That scale would be 5 percent from years five through 19, 6 percent in years 20 through 39 and then 7 percent of gross in years 40 through 50.

Hyatt Place is a limited-service property. Locally, there are Hyatt Place properties in Davis, Rancho Cordova and Roseville.

Sonnenblick-SMF LLC would negotiate a contract with the UNITE-HERE Local 49, the local hotel and restaurant employees union. The previous hotel had been a union shop.

Hotel deal pace in Caribbean remains in check

Bob Sonnenblick speaks at the Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference

Bob Sonnenblick speaks at the Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference

November 21 2014 Speakers at the Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference & Operations Summit lament a lack of financing that has created a dearth of deals, but they don’t expect it to last forever.

By Jeff Higley
Editorial Director
jeff@hotelnewsnow.com

PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic—Buyers are laboriously prudent when it comes to hotel assets in the Caribbean, and speakers at last week’s Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference & Operations Summit agreed the process isn’t going to be any more fluid in the foreseeable future.

The biggest issue is easy to spot, panelists said. Despite strong performance fundamentals for the region’s hotel industry, lenders are reluctant—and in a number of cases unable—to throw their hats in the ring when it comes to deals.

“The performance numbers aren’t translating into the availability of capital,” said Gary Brough, managing director of KPMG, during the “Capital and the new normal” general session.

“Right now there is a ton of money going into the hotel business in the (U.S),” said Bob Sonnenblick, principal of Sonnenblick Development. “It’s going to take time to trickle down here.”

Adam Rosenberg (right) of Fortress Investment Group and Gary Brough (center) of KPMG react to a comment from Bob Sonnenblick of Sonnenblick Development during the -Capital and the New Normal- session at last week’s Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference - Operations Summit. (Photo: Jeff Higley) -

Adam Rosenberg (right) of Fortress Investment Group and Gary Brough (center) of KPMG react to a comment from Bob Sonnenblick of Sonnenblick Development during the -Capital and the New Normal- session at last week’s Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference – Operations Summit. (Photo: Jeff Higley) –

“The good and the bad of the region is oftentimes the absence of senior debt, or if there is senior debt you’re talking about 50% equity,” added Nick Hecker, senior principal at Och-Ziff Real Estate.

Bill Sipple, executive managing director of HVS Capital Corporation, said it’s difficult to source capital for the Caribbean, but cracks in the armor are starting to appear. He said one bright spot is U.S. commercial mortgage-backed securities lenders, which are starting to show an interest in the region.

“They’re seeking ways of finding new avenues that are less competitive and where they can get higher yields,” Sipple said.

Lorne Bassel, president and CEO of Crave Real Estate, said during the “Investor/capital provider outlook” general session that investors who have a clear intent to stay in the deal for the long run are more apt to obtain financing.

“(Lenders) want to see a compelling vision in the plan that makes your project different,” Bassel said. “Marina, golf and beach just isn’t enough. They want to see you bought in financially for the next 10 years.”

But Ali Elam, managing director of Fortress Investment Group, said there’s a simple reason large banks aren’t lending into the Caribbean: “They simply do not have the facility to make loans in the Caribbean. It’s not something they invested in infrastructure for.”

Another issue is rating agencies don’t have coverage in all 32 countries in the Caribbean, Elam said.

The obvious lack of capital creates a shallow deal environment in the region.

George Spence, principal of Leading Property Group, said while some deals have been completed during the past 18 months, it’s going to take at least that long for the flow to increase.

“The Caribbean is 18 to 24 months behind the U.S. in terms of capital and new deals going on,” he said.

Spence noted several key transactions in the Caribbean during 2013 and 2014, including the former Ritz-Carlton Rose Hall in Jamaica that sold to Playa Hotels & Resorts for $70 million and rebranded as the Hyatt Zilara Beach, and the 105-room One & Only Ocean Club in the Bahamas that was sold to Access Industries for a reported $1 million per room.

Interest is building
There is growing interest in acquiring hotels in the region from players such as Fortress Investment, according to managing director Adam Rosenberg. But a deal would have to meet certain criteria for the company to make an acquisition.

“There’s a paradox,” Rosenberg said. “The world seems awash in capital … yet it’s very hard to find a deal from a return perspective. It’s hard to find things that are the right fit. (The Caribbean is) off the radar for a lot of capital providers.”

Sipple said the appetite for projects in the Caribbean tend to be in the $30-million to $100-million range.

“It doesn’t have to be a mega deal to get interest,” Sipple said. “There’s a lot of non-resort type of properties that can be built here. There’s a need for them.”

“If you’re going to spend the time to put capital out, you might as well do a large project,” Sonnenblick said, acknowledging that select- and limited-service properties have a place at airports in the region.

Elam said Fortress’ acquisition of the debt on the Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort and its refinancing of the Aruba Marriott Resort is proof the company thinks the recovery in the Caribbean will continue. The two deals combined equated to a $470-million investment he said.

“Investment in the Caribbean will always be a deep pocketed investment game, knowing that eventually you’ll have an investment that’s unique,” Elam said.

Help from governments go a long way
Panelists agreed that some of that investment should be offset by governments that want to attract development and capital infusion into their countries.

A prime example of that is the Dorado Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve, in Puerto Rico, according to Kenny Blatt, principal and COO for CPG Real Estate, which owns the property.

“Government participation allowed us to slog through three or four tough years,” Blatt said during the “Hospitality Leaders Outlook” panel.

The $1,200 to $1,300 average daily rate for the property has given CPG reason to develop the other 1,400 acres of land around the project, according to Blatt. The company refinanced Dorado Beach on Wednesday with Och-Ziff providing the financing.

“It gives us liquidity to build real estate, including hopefully building a second hotel site,” Blatt said.

The effects an active government can have on resort development and transactions aren’t always visible, speakers said.

“When people talk about cash flows and returns on a project, the first question I have is always, ‘What is the tax impact?’” Hecker said.

There’s also a difference between strategic investment and economic investment in the Caribbean, panelists said.

“The most strategic investor is generally the government,” Sonnenblick said. “I’m surprised there isn’t more going on in the Caribbean where the government is doing more.”

John Keith, managing director for Caribe Hospitality, said policies of some of the Caribbean governments, especially the foreign exchange rates, make it difficult for the hotel industry to be successful.

“I would challenge the governments to review their policy,” he said, adding they must understand they are competing in a world full of alternatives.

The Cool Way to Finance Hotels

Sonnenblick Development principal Bob Sonnenblick

Sonnenblick Development principal Bob Sonnenblick

November 14, 2014

Bob Sonnenblick panelist at Hotel Summit on November  11th, 2014 in Los Angeles

Bob Sonnenblick panelist at Hotel Summit on November 11th, 2014 in Los Angeles

Hotel Summit on Tuesday November 11th 2014

Sonnenblick Development principal Bob Sonnenblick, a panelist, says LA just finished its best 12 months ever in total volume of hotel bookings and tourism, and supply is under control. In general, the coasts are very strong but the middle of the country is still fairly flat. He’s 100% concentrated on new development, but his biggest problem is that there is no land left in LA. (It’s why Katy Perry is always Walkin’ on Air.)

Our moderator, Arent Fox’s Rich Brand, asked panelists about hotel chains launching new brands and categories. Brian says the demographic he’s pursuing doesn’t value a big flag, and he notes independent hotels weathered the downturn along with their bigger cousins. Maki says loyalty points matter to Baby Boomers and Gen X, but a large portion of Millennials are brand-agnostic. Bob says there are certain locations where you might be better off without a big brand if there’s an external room generator you can use instead (think beaches or convention centers). In addition, construction lenders now are more open to projects without a brand.

Rich says he’s seeing a lot of deals for limited and select-service hotels, and fewer full-service ones being built. Bob says the former have a higher profit margin because you don’t have a big spa, room service or gobs of meeting space. “It’s a rooms-only box.” Brian says the debt and equity markets love limited service because they view it as less risky. For his San Francisco project, he cobbled together EB-5 financing, historic and New Market tax credits, and a low-leverage senior construction loan.

Bob Sonnenblick

Read full article at Bisnow

Bob Sonnenblick speaking at CHICOS November 14th, 2014 – Hotel Capital in The Caribbean

Los Angeles-based hotel developer Bob Sonnenblick, Chairman of Sonnenblick Development LLC has been chosen to speak at the upcoming CHICOS (Caribbean) Hotel conference at The Hard Rock Hotel in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic on November 14th, 2014. The panel topic will be “Hotel Capital in The Caribbean”.

chicos-2014 Bob Sonnenblick, chairman of Sonnenblick Development LLC has been chosen to speak

11:15 A.M. TO 12:15 P.M. – GENERAL SESSION: CAPITAL AND THE NEW NORMAL: Panel of capital providers and advisers discuss investments in the Caribbean and what it takes to get a deal done. Who is financing projects in the Caribbean and on what basis? While it appears that confidence in the region
amongst financiers is improving this does not appear to be translating into readily available capital. Funding has been scarce for so long that it appears as if the landscape may have changed permanently. Does this environment represent the “new normal”? If so what does the new normal look like? How are
deals currently being structured? What are the key terms and conditions? Who are we dealing with and how sustainable are their interest in the region? The ability to raise capital is going to be absolutely critical if, as appears to be the case, the region is over the worst of the economic cr isis and we can start
to look forward to the future with cautious optimism. Help us resolve this crucial issue by participating in an interactive discussion with our panel of innovative and imaginative financiers bringing a fresh approach to a difficult and complex problem.
Moderator: Gary Brough, Managing Director- KPMG
Panelists:
Nicholas Hecker, Senior Principal – Och Ziff Real Estate
Bill Sipple, Executive Managing Director – HVS Capital Corp
Bob Sonnenblick, Principal-Sonnenblick Development LLC
Adam Rosenberg, Global Head of Gaming & Leisure- Fortress Investment Group-Credit Funds


Hottest Hotel Projects

BisNow
Los Angeles Hotel
Oct 31, 2014

Talk to anybody in hospitality and they’ve got a hot project in the works. We did just that…

Sonnenblick Development principal Bob Sonnenblick

Sonnenblick Development principal Bob Sonnenblick

This morning, Sonnenblick Development principal Bob Sonnenblick (in full Halloween mode before trick-or-treating with his kids in Pacific Palisades) told us about his newest resort hotel project: Chambers Bay Resort in University Place, WA, a 30-minute drive from Sea-Tac Airport. What’s key for Bob, an avid golfer, is that next June, it’s going to be the home course of the 2015 US Open, where it will be seen by 300 million people on TV. Bob’s building a 320-room luxury hotel with a 40k SF conference center and a 10k SF spa, with a second golf course that will front directly on Puget Sound. The new course is being designed by the famed Robert Trent Jones Jr.

Bob says Chambers Bay is a $125M project. The hotel will be raised, so that people can look through the glass on the first floor and still enjoy the views (including the snow-capped peaks of the Olympic Mountains). He’s also working on a hotel site in the hot market of downtown Beverly Hills. Bob just got back from the best vacation of his life: two weeks in Phuket, Thailand.

Read on BISNOW
Puget Sound

LA developer behind Chambers Bay resort says property is a ‘12′

djc_logo2

September 29, 2014

LA developer behind Chambers Bay resort says property is a ‘12′

By BENJAMIN MINNICK
Journal Construction Editor
The ground floor would be all glass so people walking onto the property can enjoy the views.

The ground floor would be all glass so people walking onto the property can enjoy the views.

Robert Sonnenblick is the man who wants to build a $150 million resort at Chambers Bay, and he says as soon as he saw the location it was love at first sight.

“That site at Chambers Bay, on a scale of one to 10, is a 12,” said the Los Angeles-based developer. He plans to build a 258-room hotel, conference center and second golf course at the site in University Place where the U.S. Open will be played next June.

“To me, I’m shocked that no one built a hotel prior to me getting involved,” Sonnenblick said. “I fell in love with it the instant I walked onto the property.”

Sonnenblick is chairman of Sonnenblick Development, which was formed in 2011 to specialize in four-star oceanfront resort hotels across the country, with a focus on high-end golf resorts.

Sonnenblick heard about Chambers Bay about a year and half ago while working on a golf course and hotel development near Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina. Someone with the United States Golf Association told him Chambers Bay is hosting the 2015 U.S. Open and there weren’t any hotels near the golf course.

Sonnenblick was in Seattle for a business trip and decided to visit the golf course, which is owned by Pierce County. He said he stopped dead in his tracks when he set foot on the property, awed by the sweeping views of Puget Sound and the Olympics. He called it the best site for a hotel he has ever seen.

Part of Sonnenblick’s plan is to convert Pierce County’s award-winning Environmental Services Building into a 48,000-square-foot conference center and add a ballroom for weddings. The Environmental Services Building was designed by The Miller Hull Partnership.

“To have that already on the property is something that we’re thrilled with,” he said.

Pierce County is planning to build a new headquarters on the campus of the former Puget Sound Hospital and consolidate a third of its 3,000 employees. Officials say it’s too soon to say where employees now housed in the Environmental Services Building would go.

Construction of the county’s new headquarters could begin early next year. The county has picked a team headed by Wright Runstad Associates, with NBBJ Architects, Gunsul + Iverson Architects and Howard S. Wright. The headquarters could open by mid-2016.

More walking paths and biking trails would be built on the property to appeal to locals

More walking paths and biking trails would be built on the property to appeal to locals

Sonnenblick is big on views, and they are plentiful at Chambers Bay.

The new hotel will be raised about 22 feet in the air and the ground floor will be all glass so people walking onto the property can enjoy the views.

The hotel will have two restaurants and two bars. Sonnenblick said one of the bars will be like the “19th hole” found at most golf courses.

Adding a second golf course is an important part of the plan. Sonnenblick said the existing course is fescue grass and golf carts aren’t allowed, so it’s a walk-only course — and that doesn’t work with a hotel.

“The reason we need a second course is the normal tourist golfer does not walk,” he said.

Golfers will likely have better scores on the second course because it will have wider fairways and a more forgiving layout.

Sonnenblick also said he wants a “huge” increase in the number of walking paths and biking trails on the property to appeal to locals.

Sonnenblick said the plan is to offer discounts on rooms, food and beverages to people from University Place, Lakewood and Steilacoom.

His team just finished architectural renderings for the project and hopes to start construction next year.

“I want to start the day the U.S. Open finishes next June,” he said. “I don’t think the county or the city will be ready for us to start by then, so it will probably be a couple of months after that.”

Sonnenblick said the U.S. Open will generate tremendous publicity for his project before it even opens because Chambers Bay will be on the cover of golf magazines and featured on golf shows, just like Pinehurst was earlier this year.

Sonnenblick said he wants to build the hotel and golf course simultaneously and hopes to open both in mid-2017. He said the entire project will be privately funded.

The golf course design should be finished in about a month by architect Robert Trent Jones Jr., who also designed the original Chambers Bay Golf Course.

Other team members are: the Los Angeles office of Harley Ellis Devereaux, architect; Absher Construction of Puyallup, general contractor; KPFF of Tacoma, civil engineer; PCS Structural Solutions of Tacoma, structural engineer; and Transpo Group of Kirkland, traffic consultant.

(Editor’s note: This article was changed to reflect that PCS Structural Solutions is the structural engineer, and that the county hasn’t decided where to relocate its workers at the Environmental Services Building.)

Sonnenblick said he expects to hire a lot of local subcontractors.

This is Sonnenblick’s first project in Washington state, but not his first business venture here. He has financed several projects here over the years, including a $165 million construction loan and $35 million equity joint venture in the mid-1980s for Herman Sarkowsky’s AT&T Gateway Tower (now Seattle Municipal Tower).

Sonnenblick said several local companies have approached him about doing other projects since word got out about Chambers Bay. He said he is open to sites with views and waterfront access, but first wants to get the ball rolling on this one.

Drawings released for five-story hotel at Chambers Bay

the_news_tribune
By Steve Maynard
Staff writer September 23, 2014

A Los Angeles developer unveiled drawings Tuesday for a resort at Chambers Bay in University Place that would be big and dramatic with a five-story hotel and sweeping views of Chambers Bay Golf Course and a proposed second course.

Click for Chambers Bay Resort Brochure

1
Chambers Bay Resort would consist of the 258-room hotel, a conference center, a 180-seat cafe and restaurant, and a swimming pool. The conference center would be located in what is now the county’s environmental services building, with a ballroom added on.

Pierce County Council members saw the architectural renderings for developer Bob Sonnenblick’s project for the first time Tuesday.

“That is the public’s property,” Ladenburg said. Those public amenities include the trails, parks and playground as well as the golf course where the 2015 U.S. Open will be played.

Her husband, John Ladenburg, was the county executive who spearheaded developing the former gravel mine into a championship golf course in 2007.

“To make sure that (citizens) still feel that that’s their property, I think, is very key with any development that we do out there,” said Connie Ladenburg, whose district includes University Place.

“We totally agree,” said county Executive Pat McCarthy. “Any place you put anything on this property is going to impact something. But the fact of the matter is we do have a philosophy that it does need to have good public access.”

County-owned Chambers Bay Golf Course will host the U.S. Open June 15-21 of next year. The resort hotel proposal is many months away from a final decision and would not interfere with the golf championship.

Deputy County Executive Kevin Phelps said it will take up to 18 months to update the master site plan, which would require approval by the County Council and the City Councils for both University Place and Lakewood.

The County Council likely would have to authorize the county executive to enter into an agreement with Sonnenblick.

Sonnenblick started a second 90-day extension granted by McCarthy for planning the project last week.

Phelps said Sonnenblick will have to propose financing that meets the county’s needs. The master site plan must be modified, and Sonnenblick must determine if he can fit in a second golf course.

Sonnenblick, chairman of Sonnenblick Development, said his $150 million project will enhance public access to Chambers Creek Regional Park.

“I am designing the hotel to increase public access,” Sonnenblick said in a phone interview Tuesday. “We are going to add a huge number of walking and biking trails.”

He said the project’s lower levels would be lifted up and lined with glass so that visitors could see the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains.

3 “We’re very excited about the project, and we designed it based on the input from a lot of local groups,” he said.

Sonnenblick hired Robert Trent Jones Jr.’s company to design the second golf course. Jones also designed the original Chambers Bay Golf Course.

Hole routings for the second course are expected to be completed in about three weeks, Sonnenblick said.

A second 18-hole course where golfers could ride carts is crucial for attracting older, higher-income customers to the resort, Sonnenblick said. Chambers Bay prohibits carts to prevent damage to fescue grass on the links-style course.

Sonnenblick met with University Place planners last month to ask questions of city planning staff as it related to his proposed development.

The City of University Place is waiting to see more detailed information about how the site will be developed, including plans for the second 18-hole golf course.

“We’ve only seen renderings of the hotel, we haven’t seen any maps or site plans,” UP City Manager Steve Sugg said Tuesday. “It’s our practice that we don’t react to renderings.”

But Sugg did say the city is interested in the project.

“The idea of a destination golf resort in UP is certainly appealing, but the details will have to be worked out,” he said.

Sonnenblick’s plan describes the hotel as reaching 66 feet, which is taller than the city’s current zoning allows. That is one of the issues that would have to be addressed through the site plan amendment process, Sugg said.

“We’ll let the process determine the outcome,” he said.

HD_Dev_Arch

The only two council members to offer feedback were Connie Ladenburg, D-Tacoma, and Stan Flemming, R-Gig Harbor. Both voiced concerns about whether public access would be maintained.

Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com

###

NFDA Government Real Estate Conference in Sacramento on October 1, 2014

NFDA Western Region Conference Oct. 1, 2014

LOGO_sponsors

LA-based real estate developer Bob Sonnenblick, Chairman of Sonnenblick Development LLC, has been chosen to lead the Government Tenant Development Panel at the upcoming NFDA Government Real Estate Conference in Sacramento on October 1, 2014.

The Conference, the first of its kind on the West Coast, focuses on all aspects of Government-tenanted real estate projects from development, financing, management, procurement, sales, and leasing.

Please join regional leaders for the first Western Regional NFOA (National Federal Development Association | www.ndfa.us) conference on October 1, 2014 at the Sutter Club, Sacramento.

We believe this to be the first conference of its kind In the region, that is, all matters relating to government -leased and occupied real estate.

NFDA_register

You may register at:http://nfda.ustconferenceinfo.html#westconference2014

You are also invited to sponsor the event as we believe your endorsement of the conference will prove to be beneficial t o your organizational as well as the participants attending the conference due to the unique nature of this particular conference. Sponsorships are $500.00. Your logo will appear in all our promotional materials with a link to your website, invitations & announcements on the NFDA website event page, banner at the event, program at the event as well as in the audio visual displays.

 

Should you have any questions, please call Greg Margetich at 916.208.2500 or email at events@themargetichgtoup.com



NFDA_event_details

  • When: October 1, 2014 from 11:30 am to 3:00pm
  • Where: Sutter Club, 1220 9th St, Sacramento, CA 95814

NFDA_agenda
  • Owner/Developer panel
  • Financing of Government-leased properties
  • Investment Trends, Sales & Cap Rates
  • State of Affairs at GSA & CA DGS
  • Solicitations, Procurements, Holdovers
  • Energy Efficiency Requirements/Retrofitting

Bob Sonnenblick to speak at NATHIC Confence: Extended Stay Segment

NATHIC14_GlobeHeader-H

November 20 11:45AM – 12:35PM

Extended Stay Segment: This panel will provide insights into branding, acquisition, management, development and expansion possibilities in gateway cities as well as secondary and tertiary markets for Extended Stay-type properties.

 

Breakout B – Salon 2 Speakers: BREAKOUT SESSIONS

(St. Clair Salons)

  • Bob Sonnenblick, Chairman & Principal, Sonnenblick Development LLC
  • Ed Watkins, Editor-at-Large, HotelNewsNow.com
  • Diane Mayer, Vice President & Global Brand Manager, Residence Inn & Marriott Executive Apartment Brands

  • Sam Cicero Jr., President, Cicero’s Development Corporation
  • Ron Burgett, Executive Vice President of Franchise Development, Value Place Franchise Services
  • Jerry Zeitner, Principal, Getty’s ONE

Register Now

Bob Sonnenblick as Moderator: The STATE of CALIFORNIA Real Estate Market Panel

Executive Speaker Lineup Released – InterFace California Commercial Real Estate Trends Conference

TrendsCA_Email_1

Speaker Panels Released

Hear from statewide experts about Investment, Capital Market, Industrial, Office, Multifamily and Retail Trends affecting California and Western Region

The agenda includes 40 senior level panelist, 7 high level sessions, 5 hours of networking, 2 networking receptions and endless opportunities to connect with friends in a peer to peer networking environment. There is still time to close more business in 2014

Top industry leaders have confirmed to speak at the event and the entire industry is planning their schedule and calendars to be in Los Angeles to participate in the industry’s leading regional event. This conference is designed to identify opportunities, create relationships & close business. The agenda for InterFace California Trends will examine both Macro and Micro commercial real estate trends affecting California and the Western region.

Topics to be discussed include:

  • The State of the California Commercial Real Estate Market
  • Outlook for Investments
  • Emerging Capital Market Trends
  • Dedicated breakout sessions for the Office, Industrial, Retail and Multifamily asset classes.

ClickInfo

 

The STATE of CALIFORNIA Real Estate Market Panel

 

Sonnenblick_Bob Hacegaba_Noel Pupil_Marty Rinkov_Jeff

Bob Sonnenblick
Principal
Sonnenblick Development
*Moderator

Noel
Hacegaba

Acting Deputy Executive Director & COO
Port of Long Beach,
California

Marty Pupil
President Western Region
Colliers
International

Jeff Rinkov
President
Lee &
Associates

Bob Sonnenblick to moderate the Finance panel at the Lodging Conference on October 21 in Arizona

Bob Sonnenblick, Chairman of Los Angeles-based Sonnenblick Development LLC, has been chosen to moderate the Finance panel at the upcoming Lodging Conference on October 21 at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Arizona_LodgingConf11:15 – 12:30

CONCURRENT THINK TANKS

T-3: Essentials to Meeting Lender Requirements

The discussion will focus on which lenders and mezzanine providers are the most active sources of capital in the hotel industry marketplace today and how you can expedite the loan application process by knowing what underwriters look for and the documentation that you should provide including historical rates and occupancy, property condition, standard reporting, operating statements, appraisal analysis, brand affiliation, and completed and planned upgrades.

MODERATOR:
Bob Sonnenblick
, Chairman, Sonnenblick Development LLC

PANELISTS:
Peter Berk
, President, PMZ Realty Capital LLC – Hotel Finance Group
Mark Laport, President & CEO, Concord Hospitality Enterprises Company
Barbara Morrison, President & CEO, TMC Financing
Mehul “Mike” Patel, CEO & Chairman, NewcrestImage
Christopher Williams, Vice President, Franchise Finance, GE Capital, Franchise Finance

 

 

 

Arizona_LodgingConf_sponsors

Bob Sonnenblick to moderate the “Luxury Hotels & Resorts” panel at the Thinc Hotel Conference in Bali

Bob Sonnenblick to moderate the “Luxury Hotels & Resorts” panel at the Thinc Hotel Conference in Bali, Indonesia on Sept 5th at the Sofitel Bali Hotel.

THINC_Sept-2014_Bali_Bob-Sonnenblick

 

4:10PM – 5:00 PM Luxe in Flux: The Next Big Trends in Luxury Hotels and ResortsWhat lies ahead for this segment and is it a profitable business model to invest in?
What are the popular and upcoming trends in in the Luxury hotel/resort segment?

Moderator Robert (Bob) Sonnenblick, Chairman. Sonnenblick Development
Panelists Agustono Effendy, Business Development General Manager, PT Ciputra Property TbkArjan De Boer, SVP Development and Technical Services -Asia Pacific, Regent Hotels and Resorts

Marc Dardenne, Chief Executive Officer, Patina Hotels and Resorts

Rishli Kapoor, Senior Vice President International Development, MGM Hospitality

THINC-register_Sept-2014_Bali_Bob-Sonnenblick

Robert Sonnenblick Talks “Luxe In Flux” At THINC Conference In Bali

HVS_heroRed
In Focus: Washington, DC
By Chelsey Leffet and Jerod S. Byrd
As economic recovery resumes and tourism strengthens, Washington, D.C. remains a top draw for leisure, convention, and government demand, with area hotels achieving some of the highest RevPAR levels in the nation.

In one of the highlight sessions at the Tourism, Hotel Investment & Networking Conference (THINC) Indonesia 2014, Robert (Bob) Sonnenblick, Chairman – Sonnenblick Development, will lead a panel discussion comprising some of the most prominent players in the region’s Luxury Hotel and Resort segment. The session, titled ‘Luxe in Flux: The Next Big Trends in Luxury Hotels and Resorts’, will see this select panel of industry experts share their perspectives and knowledge of the market, discuss latest trends, and what lies ahead for this segment in the years to come.

REGISTER NOW AT THINC INDONESIA 2014.

Hotel Developer Sees More Rooms in Beverly Hills

atlasJustin Yang
Los Angeles Business Journal
March 3rd, 2014 

The Beverly Hills hotel market, which boasts some of the highest room rates in the region but has not seen a new property built in nearly six years, is starting to heat up.

In what one city official conceded was an unusual overture, Pacific Palisades developer Sonnenblick Development has submitted an unsolicited proposal to build a 124-room luxury Auberge Resorts hotel on a 1.4 acre city-owned property at 9268 Third St.

The hotel, right in the backyard of another luxury hotel, L’Ermitage Beverly Hills, would be built on land leased from the city. The parcel now houses a small office building that has been the home of Lakeshore Entertainment since 2005.

In response to the proposal, the City Council directed staff to hold an informal public meeting last month to gauge public interest and advise the council on next steps.

While unsolicited proposals are not common, David Lightner, deputy city manager, said Beverly Hills had received expressions of interest recently for other city-owned properties, including a 5-acre site nearby on Foothill Road between Third and Alder streets.

“These proposals are not frequent,” Lightner said. “During the recession years, it was fairly unlikely. As the city emerged from recession starting from 2012, developers started looking at the (Lakeshore) site.”

Robert Sonnenblick, principal of the development firm, said in an email to the Business Journal that he was interested in the Lakeshore site because its quiet neighborhood can attract a high-end clientele, pointing to L’Ermitage’s success. He approached the city because it could give him a better deal than other privately owned sites in Beverly Hills. Land is scarce and difficult to find in the city.

“First, we really like the hotel market in Beverly Hills. It’s really strong and it has a great history,” he wrote. “Second, all of the other sites are being bid up to crazy prices by condo developers.”

That has residents wondering if the city is getting a good deal if it were to move forward with the hotel.

Marilyn Gallup, vice president of community group Beverly Hills Municipal League, said the city needs to determine a true value for the site before showing interest in projects like this.

“Looking at the renderings, it looked very nice. I’m not for it or against it,” Gallup said of the proposal. “First you have to put value on the land to know whether or not the city would be getting a good return. The city needs to decide what they want to do with the properties before you start looking at individual projects.”

That, said Lightner, is exactly what the city is doing.

“Is this the highest and best economic generator for the city? Are there other municipal functions? Are there other functions anticipated?” he asked. “That’s why the City Council said, ‘Let’s go talk to people and figure it out.’”

Healthy market

A recent report by PKF Consulting USA estimated that Beverly Hills had an average room rate of $414 and market occupancy rate of 77.3 percent last year.

Sonnenblick said a hotel on the site could generate as much as $2.5 million a year in transient occupancy taxes in addition to its payments on the ground lease.

Lightner said revenue generated by a hotel could be significant, but the city was still researching potential returns.

The last hotel to be built in Beverly Hills was the Montage, at 225 N. Canon Drive, which bowed in late 2008, and the prospect of another hotel in the city, whether an Auberge or another operator, remains preliminary. The Lakeshore site, just north of Burton Way and about four blocks west of the Four Seasons Hotel on Doheny Drive, would need to be rezoned to accommodate a hotel. Lightner said the property is zoned for parking, institutions and parks; rezoning the property would be a lengthy process requiring further studies and examinations of the site.

Lakeshore has a lease that runs for another year with an option for a five-year renewal. Lightner said the city could end that lease if the site were to be redeveloped.

Sonnenblick is not the only one to express interest in redeveloping the site as a hotel. Lightner said the owners of L’Ermitage, which fronts on Burton and backs on the Lakeshore site, has also expressed interest. A spokeswoman for L’Ermitage declined to comment.

Alan X. Reay of Irvine hospitality consultancy Atlas Hospitality Group said there is more than enough room for Beverly Hills to take on another hotel. He said the West L.A.-Beverly Hills hotel market is one of the nation’s best, second only to Manhattan.

“The L’Ermitage is 39 years old and it’s a nice building,” Reay said. “But with this proposal, you have this new product with a Beverly Hills address. There’s so much demand right now, the city could easily absorb a 124-room hotel. Ninety percent of the cities we deal with love the (transient occupancy taxes). It drives jobs and hotels.”

 

 

Bob Sonnenblick Video from Global Center for Hospitality Management June 4, 2014

Boutique Hotel 2014 Investment Conference June 4, 2014

PANEL DISCUSSION:Boutique Hotel- Start to Finish

Moderator: Bob Sonnenblick, Chairman, Sonnenblick Development Panelists:

  • John Bralower, President,Carlton Hospitality Group
  • Karrle Drlnkhahn, Princpial The Getty’s Group
  • Mark Gordon, Managing  Partner Tribeca Associates
  • Daniel Lesser, President & CEO, LW Hospitality Advisors
  • Jason Pomeranc, CEO, The Pomeranc Group

Bob Sonnenblick Discusses the Hot Hotel Sector with GRS Group

Bob Sonnenblick Discusses the Hot Hotel Sector with GRS Group - See more at: http://www.grs-global.com/bob-sonnenblick-discusses-the-hot-hotel-sector/#sthash.HlhlfHza.dpuf

Robert Sonnenblick, Chairman of Sonnenblick Development, has completed over $1.5B of commercial real estate transactions on the west coast. Among the most notable include: Beaudry Center, LA ($197M), The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Pasadena ($97M), One Waterfront Plaza, Honolulu, HI ($100M) and the LA World Trade Center ($55M). He was also an original development partner of the $90M Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, which sold for $125M.

May 15, 2014 by Ian Ritter
Robert Sonnenblick, Chairman of Sonnenblick Development, has completed over $1.5B of commercial real estate transactions on the west coast. Among the most notable include: Beaudry Center, LA ($197M), The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Pasadena ($97M), One Waterfront Plaza, Honolulu, HI ($100M) and the LA World Trade Center ($55M). He was also an original development partner of the $90M Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, which sold for $125M.

One commercial real estate sector that GRS Group hasn’t touched on recently in this space is hospitality. Bob Sonnenblick, chairman of Sonnenblick Development LLC, recently filled us in on the current hotel trends, and he had plenty of good news to share. Development is back, core markets are hot and fundamentals are in good shape. Sonnenblick shared what he thinks are the hotel sector’s bright spots.

We hear a lot about multifamily and its boom. What is going on with the hospitality sector right now?

There’s no question that the apartment industry is the darling of the real estate business right now. Every investor, pension fund or builder is actively looking for apartments. But as a result, there has been huge competition in the apartment sector, and it’s taken away most of the profitability of being in that sector. It’s become a very hard and competitive business now.

The exact opposite is the case in the hotel business, where there are very few hotel developers still standing as a result of the previous recession from 2008 to 2012, when most of them all got wiped out. It’s actually a very good time to be a hotel developer right now.

Most importantly, hotel operations are at an all time high this year. Tourism in Los Angeles County just broke a record for the largest dollar volume of tourism ever. The actual business side of our industry is very strong.

What kind of development is happening?

The limited-service hotels, the ones without food and beverage components, like Hilton Garden Inn, Hyatt Place and Courtyard by Marriott, the real select-services are on fire. Those are the ones that are getting built around the country right now. There is very little construction of full-service, high-rise, four-star and five-star hotels.

What is driving this?

It is a very simple concept. The profit margins on the rooms component of a hotel are very high. The profit margins on the food and beverage components are very low. So people are building hotels now with only rooms in them and nothing else. The customer is OK with that. They’ll take a nice room and walk across the street to a restaurant.
There’s clearly an increase in spending that’s happened over the last year. Operations and profitability are up about seven percent this year alone, which is a huge jump. But these select-service hotels are generally equivalent rooms to the full-service hotels, but they’re priced 30 percent lower. The customer loves it.

How is business travel holding up?

Business travel is back up to the levels we had seven years ago. That part is all really good, and next year it will be even higher. In general, the outlook for the hotel industry is a very strong future over the next two or three years with very limited new supply.

Are there any parts of the country doing particularly well?

There are two parts of the country that are very strong, and not surprisingly, it’s the two coasts. The New York-Washington D.C.-Boston market is unbelievably strong. The L.A.-San Francisco combo-market is very strong. The third market that is equally strong is Miami and South Florida. The coastal markets are having phenomenal years. The middle of the country is fairly flat.

Are there any hotel projects you have on tap that you’d like to highlight?

We’ve got two projects in California that we are very excited about. The first one is the building of a $75-million hotel on the campus of the University of Southern California Medical Center, surrounded by four hospitals and three medical schools. it’s a very exciting project for us. And we’re doing a 137-room hotel inside the new terminal at Sacramento International Airport. Any time you build a hotel attached to the airport terminal, it gives you a big leg up on getting really good occupancy.

We are also actively looking for more sites around Southern California that are located near and attached to major hospital projects.

Do you see anything derailing this momentum?

Unless it’s some kind of wild international act of terrorism, other than that, I really see us having a pretty good two-to-three-year run in front of us before you see interest rates start going back up.

– See more at: http://www.grs-global.com

Long-struggling Daytona Hilton shows promising signs that could help area tourism

Daytona_Beach_News_Journal

Published: Saturday, May 10, 2014 at 10:49 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, May 10, 2014 at 10:58 p.m.
News-Journal/NIGEL COOK The Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort in Daytona Beach, Monday, April 28, 2014

News-Journal/NIGEL COOK
The Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort in Daytona Beach, Monday, April 28, 2014

DAYTONA BEACH

 

For all the optimism over new hotels, renovations and national convention business, Daytona Beach’s tourism tide still largely rises and falls with the fortunes of its largest hotel, the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort.

The Hilton’s influence runs deep in area tourism, from daily room rates to investor decisions on future hotels, industry watchers say. The 744-room resort carries the baggage of a rocky past — ownership changes, mortgage defaults — and an uncertain present. But as with the rest of the beachside, recent events suggest a brighter future for the Hilton. (snipped)

‘CAUGHT IN THE DOWNTURN’

The Hilton’s most-recent appraised value is way down from a 2007 appraisal that pegged the hotel’s worth at $150 million, though observers doubt that appraisal’s validity.

The hotel’s appraised value has little effect on the day-to-day lives of Daytona Beach residents, observers say. The hotel will stay open, and tourists will continue to stay there.

But it does send a signal to hotel developers, said Bob Sonnenblick, chairman of Los Angeles-based real estate development firm Sonnenblick Development.

If you see an established hotel like the Hilton is only worth ($68,000) per room and it will cost you $200,000 per room to build a new hotel, you will look at that and think, ‘It makes no sense to build any new hotels in this market,’” he said.

Buying shuttered or under-performing hotels and renovating them would be more attractive to developers than building new because the costs are much lower, Sonnenblick added.

Still, the appraisal hasn’t turned off one developer who’s looking to build a brand-new hotel on the beachside.

Click to Read Full Article

 

The Best Way to Build?

Finding the best construction methodology is almost like deciding whether the beginning of the toilet paper should go above or below the roll.

Finding the best construction methodology is almost like deciding whether the beginning of the toilet paper should go above or below the roll. It’s all personal preference, so we asked what top market experts liked best at Bisnow’s Construction & Development Summit last week..

we asked what top market experts liked best at Bisnow's Construction & Development Summit last week.

It varies by product and even within product type, we learned. Take multifamily mixed-use specialists Brian Winley of Century West Partners and Related California’s Gino Canori (flanking Sonnenblick Development’s Bob Sonnenblick and Panattoni’s Mark Payne). While Brian says GMP is his preferred method, Gino likes cost-plus. Bob notes the timing of when contracts are signed also is important—he signs his at 3% drawings (that’s industry lingo for 3% done… but you all knew that).

See more at Biznow

Less Traffic On The 10?

20-Year Development Drought is Over

Could it be? At Bisnow’s Construction & Development Summit last week, some bold predictions were made about a traffic-free 10. Read on (and stick around for the also exciting topics of land prices and permitting).

Sonnenblick Development chairman Bob Sonnenblick says the day the Expo Line extension opens, the eastbound 10 Freeway, which becomes bumper-to-bumper at 2pm, will be a totally different place. He also says the dissolution of California’s redevelopment agencies probably cost the industry $4B; all the cities had major projects lined up with RDAs, he says.

LA_Contruction_Development_Summit_BobSonnenblick

He also says the dissolution of California’s redevelopment agencies probably cost the industry $4B; all the cities had major projects lined up with RDAs, he says.

Bob’s a big proponent of design-build because, if well documented, it takes all the construction risk off of the developer’s shoulders. He says development is already hard enough: “If you can take that risk and lay it off on your contractor, it’s got to be the right way to do this thing.” Andy notes Hensel Phelps is budgeting projects it first saw seven to nine years ago, though “they’ve traded who’s actually going to do ’em a couple times.”

summit_Panel

Read the complete followup here.

Boutique Hotel 2014 Investment Conference June 4, 2014

June 4 2014 New York Institute of Technology

New York Institute of Technology
Global Center for Hospitality Management
June 4, 2014

More information:

 

Announcement Boutique Hotel Investment Conf Full Agenda

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

7:00 AM – 4:00 PM Conference Registration
7: 30 AM – 8: 30 AM Networking Breakfast
8:30 AM – 8:45 AM Welcome:Frances Kiradjian,BLLA Founder & Chair with Program
Overview Welcome:Dr.Robert J. Koenig, Associate Dean,NYIT
8:45 AM – 9:00 AM Robert Mandelbaum,PKF Hospitality Research
9:00 AM – 9:15 AM Jan Freitag, STR
9:15 AM – 9:45 AM Keynote Speaker:Horst Schulz,Chairman & CEO, Capella Hotel Group
9:45 AM – 10:30 AM PANEL DISCUSSION:Boutique Hotel- Start to Finish Moderator: Bob Sonnenblick, Chairman, Sonnenblick Development
Panelists:
John Bralower, President,Carlton Hospitality Group
Karrle Drlnkhahn, Princpial The Getty’s Group
Mark Gordon, Managing  Partner, Tribeca Associates Daniel Lesser, President & CEO, LW Hospitality Advisors Jason Pomeranc,CEO,The Pomeranc Group

Hotel Brands Share Real Estate, Sometimes Uneasily

BOB_NYT

APRIL 22, 2014
Square Feet
By JULIE CRESWELL

In hotels these days, it’s the haves versus the have-nots.
At some dining rooms, guests have to produce their room keys to eat at the
free breakfast buffet. No eggs and muffins for those staying in rooms with other
keys, even if the guests slept under the same roof.

At Chicago’s so-called triplex — where three hotel companies share space on
a city block — Starwood’s Aloft guests work out in a small gym within eyesight of
a much larger one shared by Marriott and Hyatt hotel guests.

“Starwood had an issue, they didn’t want their guests intermingling with the
other guests in the fitness area,” said Deno Yiankes, the head of investments and
development for White Lodging, which codeveloped and operates the Chicago
triplex. “Each brand has its own little hot button. Marriott and Hyatt said it
wasn’t a big deal, so they shared and got a bigger fitness center.”

Juggling those competing little hot buttons is one challenge developers face
as they put up more and more hotels housing two or more brands in the same
building.

Early this year, Marriott opened a hotel in Midtown Manhattan. The lower
half is a Courtyard by Marriott, the upper floors are the Residence Inn,
Marriott’s extended-stay brand. The Hyatt Hotels Corporation has two dualbranded
hotels and at least four more in the pipeline. Hilton, which already has
15 dual-branded hotels in North America, has 17 more approved or under
construction.

“It’s all the rage,” says Craig Mance, a senior vice president for development,
North America, at Hilton Worldwide. A hotel being remodeled on Chicago’s
Magnificent Mile will be split between its Hampton Inn brand while others will
belong to its Homewood Suites brand. Mixed together. On the same floor.

So even as hospitality corporations spend millions of dollars each year to
create distinct brands and experiences they hope will attract repeat customers,
the lines between brands are being blurred by the economics of higher land
prices.

Developers, trying to get the most out of high-priced downtown
metropolitan areas, are searching for ways to slash construction costs and get as
many rooms onto sites as possible.

That’s easier to do with two hotels that can share a pool, exercise room,
conference centers, laundry and kitchens. Those are all areas that take up space,
reducing the number of available rooms. The move reduces operating costs, too.

“There are huge efficiencies to be gained by making the little sandwiches and
putting them in the fridge at the limited-service hotel, running a bar at a
medium-service hotel, and a full bar and restaurant at another, all being run out
of the same kitchen,” said David Kessler, the national director of the commercial
real estate industry practice at CohnReznick, a consulting firm.

And although some hotel companies are embracing dual-branding, they are
struggling over how to maintain their separate identities and how to deal with
the awkward logistics that can arise, like free breakfasts for some hotel guests
but not others.

Brands become particularly wary when it comes to mixing hotels from
different corporations.

Chicago’s triplex opened just last year with three hoteliers sharing some
spaces, like laundry and meeting areas, but keeping other areas, like the gyms, as
well as entrances and lobbies, separate.

Others see more difficulties ahead.

“I think that project is crazy — like crazy bad,” argues Robert Sonnenblick, a
real estate developer who constructs hotels and resorts. “They put in hotels from three big reservations systems, all at the same price point, so that they’re all competing with each other on price. Consumers are going to rate-shop the three of them and choose the lowest one. It’s a race down to zero for the three competing hotels.”

A look at prices on the three corporations’ websites for a king-size bed at the
triplex on the same day in April showed they were within $10 of one another.
White Lodging argues that hotel prices for competing brands in urban
settings tend to be close, whether the hotels are on the same block or across the
street from one another. And executives at Hyatt say the experience has provided
a real-time measure of how they stack up against the competition.

“Once in a blue moon, you’ll see people from the neighboring hotel. But we
still call our lobby the gallery, and we have gallery hosts who will check you in
and pour you a glass of wine,” says Chris Walker, a vice president for Hyatt Place
and Hyatt House brands. “It’s paramount to us that we have control over the
lobby experience.”

Mr. Walker and others in the hotel industry say there are tensions and
continuing debate over what elements are important and make up the total
brand experience for the customer when considering combination developments.
“The purist in me says I don’t want to give up anything. For it to be the Hyatt
experience, it has to be 100 percent. But I’m also a realist and know that that
stance would dramatically eliminate a number of projects that the development
team could pursue,” Mr. Walker says.

Indeed, developers say this is the future.
Developers of the Arundel Mills property in Baltimore put in 150 Hilton
Garden Inn rooms and 100 extended-stay Homewood Suites.

“We got all of the efficiencies of running the property with single
housekeeping, one laundry, and amenities are also shared like the pool, fitness
center and guest laundry,” says David B. Pollin, a co-founder of the
Buccini/Pollin Group, which built and operates the site. “Plus, these two brands
attract two different types of travelers.”

If one brand is full, Mr. Pollin adds, the group has the option to “upgrade”
the traveler to the other.

But breakfast can be tricky. “The Hilton Garden Inn guests are very smart
and try to sneak in for the free breakfast available at the Homewood Suites,”
acknowledges Mr. Pollin, who says hotel staff members try to check guest keys.
Still, hospitality executives generally don’t expect many luxury properties to
jump into the mix because the guest expectations vary widely.

“If you’re used to getting misted at the pool, whether it’s a Waldorf or a Ritz,
and Mr. and Mrs. Smith with their 11 kids who are staying at the Hampton Inn
suddenly jump in, well, that’s not the kind of misting that they want,” says Mr.
Mance of Hilton. “I could see some conflicts arising out of that.”
A version of this article appears in print on April 23, 2014, on page B1 of the New York edition with the
headline: Hotel Brands Doubling Up in Cities Where Space Is Tight.

 

© 2014 The New York Times Company

20-Year Development Drought is Over

20-Year Development Drought is Over
April 17, 2014

Sonnenblick Development's hospitality activities
November will be an especially busy month for Sonnenblick Development’s hospitality activities. Chairman Bob Sonnenblick (at the 7th Hole at Pebble Beach) tells us he’s just finishing design and has put financing down for a $75M Hyatt House on the campus of the USC Medical Center; groundbreaking is slated for Nov. 1. Also getting started that month: a $40M Hyatt Place in the new terminal building at Sacramento International Airport. He’s got other hotels in the works in Palm Springs and in Pinehurst, NC, where a $150M, 330-room Westin Hotel will boast two golf courses.

With 200 rooms and suites, and surrounded by four hospitals, the USC Hyatt House just east of Downtown will cater to patients and their family members.

With 200 rooms and suites, and surrounded by four hospitals, the USC Hyatt House just east of Downtown will cater to patients and their family members. (As long as your continental breakfast is better than the hospital food, you’re on the right track.) In addition, Bob’s searching up and down the SoCal coast for waterfront hotel sites; but there isn’t much oceanfront left. He’s not deterred, though. He’s involved on projects on the waterfronts in Seattle and Palm Beach, Fla., and makes time to go up to Pebble Beach once a month to golf and get inspiration on the 17-Mile Drive. We hope you’ll join us for our LA Construction & Development Summit, April 24 at the JW Marriott at LA Live.

iGlobal Forum: 5th Real Estate Mezzanine – Financing Summit 5/8/14 New York

Iglobal_Forum_5th_real-estate

OPPORTUNITIES IN HOSPITALITY AND CONSTRUCTION IN MEZZANINE FINANCING

  • Evaluating increasing hospitality transactions and opportunities in the market
  • The varying strategies involved in closing mezzanine deals in different markets and strategic blending of mezzanine financing in hospitality and construction deals
  • Increasing interest rates and changing ownership rates in new hotel deals
  • Undertaking new construction projects and finding a higher yield in the increasingly competitive market
121211054714david-spoont-large-webDavid Spoont
President
HAVERFORD CAPITAL MANAGEMENT, INC.
130228123600Michael Girimonti headshotMichael Girimonti
Managing Director, Debt Investments
PEARLMARK REAL ESTATE PARTNERS
130204122147BobS copyBob Sonnenblick
Chairman
SONNENBLICK DEVELOPMENT

Bob Sonnenblick: 2014 Construction & Development Summit – Los Angeles

bisnow_2014_LA

Thursday, April 24, 2014

JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE

bob sonnenblick speaker

LA Construction & Development

With major projects in the pipeline, cranes in the ground, and high tenant demand, the state of the construction & current development in Los Angeles is at a pivotal point. Join Bisnow this April as we hear the experts discuss what it takes to get a new project off the ground, how developers are redeveloping existing assets, what innovative methods are being leveraged to keep projects moving, how the needs of tenants are affecting construction trends, what it takes to get a project financed, and much more.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE
(Platinum Ballroom)
900 West Olympic Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90015

Driving Directions

AGENDA

7:30-8:30 AM Continental Breakfast & Networking
8:30-10 AM All-Star Panelists
10-10:30 AM Post-Panel Networking

sponsor
email frank.sanchez@bisnow.com

EARLY BIRD PRICE $59

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Boutique Hotel Investment Conference June 4 in New York City

Boutique Hotel Investment Conference June 4 in New York City

Boutique Hotel Investment Conference June 4 in New York City BLLA
JOIN US as as a select group of experienced panelists and keynote speakers present their findings to attendees. You will walk away with a new network of individuals as well as knowledge about how to clearly navigate the murky (and exciting) waters of investing in boutique & lifestyle luxury properties.SPONSOR this conference to get your name in front of a database of over 100K!This conference Powered by BLLA, in cooperation with JF Capital Advisors.Click here to RSVP!What:
BLLA 2nd Annual Boutique Hotel Investment ConferenceWhen:
Conference runs 8am – 7:30 pm June 4th

Where:
New York Institute of Technology
1871 Broadway
Between West 61st & 62nd Streets
New York, New York

Fees:
View Fees

Featured Speakers:

  • John Bralower: Carlton Hospitality Group President
  • Karrie Drinkhahn: The Getty’s Group Principal
  • Mark Gordon: Tribeca Associates Managing Partner
  • Daniel Lessor: LW Hospitality Advisors LLC President & CEO
  • Jason Pomeranc: The Pomeranc Group CEO
  • Bob Sonnenblick: Sonnenblick Development Chairman
  • Michael Achenbaum: Gansevoort Hotel Group Founder & President
  • Jonathan Falik: JF Capital Advisors CEO
  • Ed Scheetz: King & Grove CEO
  • Brad Wilson: Ace Hotel Group President
  • Richard Bosworth: Canyon Capital Managing Director
  • Morgan Plant: KSL Resorts V P Food & Beverage
  • Richard Sandoval: Richard Sandoval Restaurants Chef/Owner
  • Todd English: Todd English Restaurateur
  • Michael Tall: Charlestowne Hotels President/COO
  • Craig Greenberg: 21C Museum Hotels CEO
  • Robert Mandelbaum: PKF Hospitality Research Director of Research Information Services
  • Horst Schulze: Capella Hotel Group Chairman & CEO
  • Jan D. Freitag: STR Senior Vice President

Click here to RSVP!

Event Summary
Boutique and lifestyle hotels are niche businesses that particularly cater to special types of customers. The boutique hotel segment of the hospitality industry is growing as global travelers spend more of their travel dollars on experiential travel.

Investing in boutique hotels is a great way for savvy executives to profit in the crowded hospitality marketplace. Opportunities for investment vary from starting your own boutique to renovating a struggling hotel to joining a partnership of investors. How one invests largely depends on opportunity and available capital.

This special sector of hospitality requires the developer to be prepared with facts, figures and an outstanding presentation for potential investors, lenders or equity partners.

This conference Powered by BLLA, in cooperation with JF Capital Advisors.

Click here to RSVP!

Developer hopes to add course at Chambers Bay

Golf_Inc
March 3, 2014
By Robert J. Vasilak

At Chambers Bay, will two Robert Trent Jones, Jr.-designed courses be better than one?

Bob Sonnenblick thinks so. The Los Angeles-based developer has proposed to build a clubhouse, a 220-room hotel, a conference center and a complementary 18-hole track at the municipal venue outside Tacoma, Washington. Unlike Chambers Bay’s existing course, Jones’ second track will welcome carts.

Sonnenblick has until mid June to line up financing, an issue that he doesn’t believe will be a problem. “There’s a lot of money around today for well-conceived, well-located, first-class projects,” he told the Tacoma News Tribune.

If Sonnenblick gets all his ducks in line, construction could begin next summer, after the U.S. Open is contested at the facility.

Concept Plan Outlined for Village Place at Pinehurst

A potential $168 million development in the old service district on the outskirts of downtown Pinehurst has ties to some star power.
Posted: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 8:33 pm | Updated: 8:38 am, Wed Mar 12, 2014.
David Sinclair/Managing Editor

A potential $168 million development in the old service district on the outskirts of downtown Pinehurst has ties to some star power.

Blaine East, of Landcore, said in a presentation to the Village Council Tuesday night that they have brought in some “unique partners” for Village Place at Pinehurst, including a restaurant owned by Robert Irvine, who has a show on the Food Network, Justin Timberlake’s Southern Hospitality restaurant and a winery owned by Richard Childress of NASCAR fame.

He added that Irvine would also like to build a production studio next to the restaurant to tape programs for his show.

“We’ve taken this core and created this fantastic entertainment component,” East said.

It would also include upscale shops, microbrewery, cigar bar, small hotel, village market, offices and residential units.

Each of the restaurants will be flanked by retail businesses, which he said are “a driving factor” in the development.

East said the plans include a small “boutique” hotel that will not “interfere” with existing hotels in the village. The plan did not indicate how many rooms it would have.

“We are not talking about a large facility,” he told the council.

East said the Village Market grocery store would be similar to the Department Store in the downtown during the days when the Tufts family owned Pinehurst.

“This will be a great retail facility,” he said. “People can walk to it.”

East said the development would employee 450 people, and its businesses are projected to have gross sales of $63 million annually. He said it would generate $2.25 million in property taxes for the village and the county and about $6.1 million in sales tax revenues annually.

East said the development would have an “old town character.” He said it is not intended to hurt the restaurants and shops in the Village Center, but to enhance the entire area.

“We have a chance to grow our retail in the village,” he said.

Koontz added that they envision a lot of outdoor dining and people walking back and forth from the village center, as well as the nearby Pinehurst Arboretum and Rassie Wicker Park.

“We want this to become a great pedestrian plaza,” he said.

Koontz said the plan would also extend Rattlesnake Trail, which would be renamed Village Place Drive, through the development, providing better connectivity from the soon-to-be widened N.C. 211 into the Village Center.

“We felt we could provide something very exciting,” East said. “Our goal is to have a new destination.”

The buildings would be spread around the development to create open space. Residential units would be above the stores and offices.

Walkways and paths would connect to the Village Center and the nearby Pinehurst Arboretum and Rassie Wicker Park. There would be a trolley service, just like in the early days of Pinehurst.

East said the final plan for the development will be based on what the community wants and will support. Required meetings will be held to gather input from residents before a final plan is submitted to the village.

“We have a passion for this, to bring something truly great for the area,” he said.

The concept plans drew praise from council members and the public.

“You know I am a hard sell,” resident Jack Farrell said. “This is pretty exciting. This is the best A-1 plan I’ve ever seen for this area. I know the devil is in the detail.”

Farrell added, “I am looking forward to my tax reduction.”

Mark Lyczkowski, who lives at Pinehurst No. 6, said this will create a “destination” that would complement the existing downtown.

“Landcore has the funding in place to do this,” he said. “You have a great developer who can bring something great.”

Mayor Nancy Fiorillo said it is a “very interesting concept and beautiful design.” She said it must be a “community-centered” plan.

“We need to take a deep breath,” she said. “What will the community support? It will not happen overnight.”

East said the developers also plan to work closely with the merchants and business owners in the downtown in marketing the entire area. He said that will start with the Village Green and “expand outward.”

He said if the core village is vibrant, “it helps everyone. Let’s all roll up our selves and work together.”

Also during the meeting, the council voted unanimously to allow retirement communities on a case-by-case basis in the Office and Professional zoning district and to rezone five acres off Murdocksville Road behind Olmsted Village for a 56-unit apartment complex for people age 55 and older.

The council turned down a nearly identical request last April but voted earlier this year to reconsider the application after being threatened with a possible housing discrimination complaint.

Also, a majority of council members are not in favor of hiring attorneys to represent the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) and the Board of Adjustment in the case of an appeal of an HPC decision last month to reject plans for a home on Everette Road. The Village Council hired attorneys for both boards when it appealed the HPC’s denial of plans to improve the Village Green.

Council member John Strickland brought up the matter, saying it was a matter of being fair to hire attorneys for the two boards.

Mayor Nancy Fiorillo said Village Attorney Mike Newman had contacted council members individually to ask about whether the village should pay for attorneys for the two boards. She said neither board has asked the council to provide an attorney and that Newman was trying to see how council members felt. No vote has been taken on the issue.

Contact David Sinclair at (910) 693-2462 or dsinclair@thepilot.com

Proposed resort could be a tourist boon for University Place

bellingham_herald

The News Tribune March 4, 2014

This 2007 photo shows the Chambers Creek Properties site, including Chambers Bay golf course. A developer proposes to build a second course and a resort hotel on the site.

This 2007 photo shows the Chambers Creek Properties site, including Chambers Bay golf course. A developer proposes to build a second course and a resort hotel on the site.

The online snipers are already weighing in on a $120 million proposal for a golf course and resort hotel/conference center at Chambers Bay. And they’re not happy. Not happy at all.

Yes, folks, let’s look this gift horse squarely in the mouth. After all, it’s not as if the developer – Bob Sonnenblick of Los Angeles – would foot the bill for the project.

Oh, wait a minute: He would.

“We put up 100 percent of the money,” he told The News Tribune’s Steve Maynard.

Repeat: He would pay for it. Not taxpayers, not sewer customers. All we’d have to do is enjoy the tourism revenue and sales tax money the project would generate – along with the jobs, of course. Can’t have that.

Sonnenblick Development – which has been involved in a number of high-end projects all over the country – is in very preliminary talks with Pierce County about a $120 million proposal for the Chambers Bay site in University Place. It has until mid-June to to come up with a project and financing plan. Even if it gets the green light, nothing would start happening until after the U.S. Open in June 2015.

So there’s no harm in seeing what Sonnenblick envisions for the site. At the very least, it would be exciting to see what a company with Sonnenblick’s impressive portfolio thinks is doable at Chambers Bay.

For their part, county officials have to ask whether the region could support another golf course – even one with an incredible view that golfers can get around on with carts, something they can’t do at Chambers Bay, a public links-style course owned by Pierce County. After four years, the course started making money only last year. The Sonnenblick project would be privately operated and would use the same course designer as Chambers Bay, Robert Trent Jones Jr.

Other questions: The public worked for months on the master site plan for Chambers Creek Properties, and it involved only one golf course. How would adding a second, 180-acre course affect the variety of public uses that were identified in the master planning process?

Would there be any impact on the hugely popular walking trail? Would a second course be any barrier to future national tournaments? And what would be the impacts of additional traffic on the surrounding community?

None of these questions necessarily suggests a deal-killer. In fact, it’s a luxury to have such an important proposal to ask questions about. It means private development is finally discovering the potential of the Chambers Creek Properties site.

Who knows whether the Sonnenblick proposal is the one that will materialize. Just the fact that the discussion is happening is a welcome one.

Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2014/03/04/3508866/proposed-resort-could-be-a-tourist.html#storylink=cpy

A second course for Chambers Bay?

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Friday, February 28, 2014
By John Strege

Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash., which will host the U.S. Open in 2015, is not for everyone, given its difficulty quotient and the fact it’s a a walking-only course. But is a more accommodating second course in its future?

A Los Angeles development company, Sonnenblick Development, has entered into a preliminary agreement with Pierce County, which owns Chambers Bay, to build a 220-room hotel there, according to the News Tribune, which also reported that a second 18-hole golf course is included in the agreement.

Robert Trent Jones II, who designed the Chambers Bay course, said it is premature to reach any conclusion. “We’re doing a study on behalf of [Sonnenblick Development],” Jones said from Chambers Bay on Friday. “He [Robert Sonnenblick] has an opportunity to build a hotel there and he would like to see more golf.

“But the whole thing is up in the air. There may or may not be [a golf course], but it won’t be anything like Chambers Bay. It would be more like a family course.”

The question is whether there is enough room on the Chambers Creek property to the south of the existing course to accommodate another course. Jones suggested that in the event there isn’t enough room that a nine-hole course with different sets of tees that would allow it to be played like an 18-hole course is an option.

“There’s a whole resort golfer community who won’t play [Chambers Bay] right now because they don’t walk 18 holes,” Sonnenblick told the News Tribune.

A hotel has long been planned for the site, but a previous developer was unable to secure financing and the project was put off until after the U.S. Open.

Read Original Article

L.A. developer eyes Chambers Bay hotel, new golf course

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A Los Angeles developer is contemplating building a 220-room hotel and a new golf course at Chambers Bay in University Place, site of the 2015 U.S. Open.

A Los Angeles developer is contemplating building a 220-room hotel and a new golf course at Chambers Bay in University Place, site of the 2015 U.S. Open.

Feb 28, 2014, 6:33am PST
Updated: Feb 28, 2014, 9:09am PST

Ben Miller

Contributing Editor- Puget Sound Business Journal

Pierce County is working with a Los Angeles developer, Sonnenblick Development, to build a 220-room hotel and another 18-hole golf course at Chambers Bay in University Place.

The News Tribune in Tacoma reports Pierce County is giving Sonnenblick until mid-June to come up with its project and financing plan. Construction on the $120 million project would not start until after the 2015 U.S. Open in June.

Sonnenblick officials said the second course is important because it would allow golf carts to be used. Chambers Bay currently doesn’t allow carts to be used.

This isn’t the first time a hotel development has been planned for Chambers Bay. As reported earlier this week in the Puget Sound Business Journal, plans for a hotel were included in the original plans for the course, which opened in 2008.

Los Angeles developer has big plans for Chambers Bay golf course

By Steve Maynard

Tacoma News TribuneFebruary 27, 2014

Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2014/02/27/3070502/los-angeles-developer-has-big.html#storylink=cpy

An overview of Chambers Bay Golf Links in University Place, February 26, 2014.  PETER HALEY - Staff photographer: The News Tribune

An overview of Chambers Bay Golf Links in University Place, February 26, 2014.
PETER HALEY – Staff photographer: The News Tribune

A California hotel developer is formulating plans to build a 220-room hotel and a second 18-hole golf course at Chambers Bay in University Place.

Pierce County has entered into a preliminary agreement with Sonnenblick Development, giving the firm until mid-June to develop its project and financing plans.

If a formal deal is reached after that, construction would not start until after the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay golf course in June 2015.

It’s the third attempt to get a project off the ground at the county-owned property and the first attempt since 2010, when another developer failed to secure financing.

A resort hotel was part of the 2010 plan as well. But building a second golf course is a new addition.

Besides the hotel, Los Angeles developer Bob Sonnenblick said he wants to build another 18-hole golf course where, unlike the Chambers Bay course, golfers could ride carts. Chambers Bay prohibits carts to prevent damage to fescue grass on the links-style course.

Sonnenblick said adding a second golf course is crucial to attracting more golfers to the hotel he would build.

“There’s a whole resort golfer community who won’t play this course right now … because they don’t walk 18 holes,” Sonnenblick said in an interview with The News Tribune.

Sonnenblick said the third part of the project is a retail and restaurant pavilion near the waterfront, potentially with kayaking and sailing. But it won’t be included in the initial design.

His firm has hired Robert Trent Jones Jr.’s company to design the second golf course. Jones designed the original Chambers Bay course.

An architect is planning a three- to four-story hotel — with conference and banquet space and a golf clubhouse — that would sit at the top of the property overlooking Chambers Bay.

Sonnenblick, who is chairman of Sonnenblick Development, estimated the entire project would cost about $120 million. A championship golf course, about 7,000 yards in length, would take up 180 acres. The hotel would sit on another 15 acres.

Deputy County Executive Kevin Phelps said the county hasn’t calculated how many of the 930 acres at Chambers Creek Properties could still be developed. The Chambers Bay course takes up 300 acres. Other areas such as setbacks, buffers and land to expand the Chambers Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant are off limits to development.

“The hotel’s no problem whatsoever,” Phelps said. “The real issue is, can they fit in the golf course and maintain all the open space and amenities that we expect to have at Chambers Creek Properties?”

Phelps said the county “is diligent in that we still want to have open space, recreation, trails and off-leash areas.”

“Those are musts,” he said. “They are not options.”

Sonnenblick said there’s “plenty of room” for the entire project.

He and the county would have to reach an agreement on plans for the project and a lease before construction could start.

“We put up 100 percent of the money,” Sonnenblick said.

Either party can back out of the first step — a one-year, pre-development memo of understanding — without any cost to the county.

“We lose nothing by seeing what they have to put on the table,” County Executive Pat McCarthy told County Council members this week.

The county can’t negotiate with other developers for Chambers Bay while the agreement is in place. Phelps said another party likely would enter into the same type of agreement if Sonnenblick and the county decide to part ways.

Council Chairman Dan Roach said the council first learned of the agreement from McCarthy on Feb. 19, after she had signed it on Feb. 14.

Roach said he’s hopeful development at Chambers Bay will occur, providing tourism and sales tax dollars to help pay for the county-owned golf course.

The course made money last year, said county spokesman Hunter George. It lost money in the four previous years, requiring an interfund loan to make debt payments.

Both the County Council and University Place City Council would have to approve changes to the master plan for Chambers Creek Properties, which doesn’t include a second golf course, said University Place City Attorney Steve Victor.

Victor said the project — which would require permits from the city — would be a “great amenity” for University Place.

“But it’s a big project and an expensive project,” Victor said. “And as we’ve all seen, not every idea that is investigated comes to pass. From my perspective, it’s wait and see.”

Sonnenblick said he expects to acquire financing.

“We are in a totally different real estate financing market today versus six years ago,” he said Wednesday while sipping an Arnold Palmer in the Chambers Bay grill. “There’s a lot of money around today for well-conceived, well-located, first-class projects.”

Sonnenblick said his company acquires bank financing and does business with a dozen state pension funds that become equity partners for projects.

Phelps said Sonnenblick’s company has a “tremendous track record” of developing major projects in Los Angeles and elsewhere.

Sonnenblick said his firm is developing its first golf course — with a 335-room Westin Hotel — adjacent to Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina, where this year’s U.S. Open will be played in June on Pinehurst No. 2. It also was an investor in a golf course in Boca Raton, Fla.

He said his company is developing six hotels over the next two years totalling $500 million, about half of which are financed.

Golf aside, Sonnenblick said he expects the Chambers Bay location overlooking Puget Sound will be a big draw.

When hotel guests look out at the view of the water, he said, “they’re going to love this.”

Steve Maynard: 253-597-8647 steve.maynard@thenewstribune.com @TNTstevemaynard

Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2014/02/27/3070502/los-angeles-developer-has-big.html#storylink=cpy

Auberge Proposes Hotel For Third Street Property

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By Victoria Talbot

The City of Beverly Hills held a public meeting Wednesday to share information on a proposed luxury hotel development on City owned property located between Foothill Road and Maple Drive on Third Street.

Sonnenblick development would like to redevelop 1.4 acres to build a 124-room Auberge Resort Hotel.

An existing building on the site has been home to Lakeshore Entertainment since 2005. The tenant has “several years” remaining on their lease with an option to renew.

The public meeting was a preliminary discussion to evaluate the public’s interests and concerns and discover if there are other preferences for development of the City’s property.

Deputy City Manager David Lightner explained that this was not the usual process for development. Instead, in a very preliminary way, the City Council directed staff to “start the process with a general community meeting to present the idea of a luxury hotel and get the reaction.” About 35 people were in attendance. “Others have expressed interest, L’Ermitage and the Peninsula, in a luxury hotel,” he said.

Asked about the current tenants, Lightner said: “If there is a proposal for a complete redevelopment of the site the City can give notice and provide an exit.”

Developer Bob Sonnenblick explained that the success of L’Ermitage, “interested us in the neighborhood.” The concept is a very high-end luxury boutique hotel. The average daily rates are $790 at Auberge Resorts’ properties in the Napa Valley, Calistoga Ranch, Aspen, and Cabo San Lucas with guests spending an average of $3,200 during their stays.

The Sonnenblick family decided on Auberge Resorts after extensive research. Hotel rooms would be a minimum of 770- square feet. Some will include a private second floor patio and Jacuzzi. The hotel would not exceed 45-feet in height and feature a pool, courtyard, restaurant and bar, with a small spa designed to service hotel guests.

“The gross will go up and the rent will also grow,” said Sonnenblick, explaining that the City would share in the hotel’s success. The rent would be in addition to the 14-percent TOT tax. He calculated the TOT would generate $2.5 million per year in City revenues. The current lease is about $1 million a year. Sonnenblick said the lease would revert back to the City in 55 years.

Residents expressed concern that the parcel represents one of the few undeveloped parcels in the City.

“Long-term leases should be the citizen’s decision. They should vote on this,” said resident Marilyn Gallup.

“I am concerned we are being guided down a path, ” said one person, citing repeated references to the “highest and best use of the land.”

“Is this the best bang for our dollar,” asked another. “Is there something else out there that would be better if we were looking for an investment? Is revenue the most important thing?” asked another.

“The City has looked at these properties and doesn’t have a specific plan,” responded Lightner, stating that the property was zoned for parks, institutions and parking. Redevelopment of this kind would require a zoning change. He reiterated that the meeting represented the most preliminary discussions about the property.

More Hotel Rooms on the Way

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January 17, 2014

Major hotel brands are banging down the doors to get into the SoCal market, according to development experts at our recent SoCal Hospitality Summit. (Even hotel execs can barely wait for 3pm check-in.) According to CFO Julie Shiflett, Red Lion is looking to add 20 hotels over the next 12 months to its existing 55 West Coast properties. She says major hotel brands are willing to give hotel developers sliver equity to get into a strong market (80%-plus occupancy).

Principal and COO Jay Newman says The Athens Group is redeveloping the Miramar Hotel at Wilshire and Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica and is working with Marriott to bring Edition to the old Scandia site on Sunset Boulevard. His company developed The Montage Beverly Hills, our event site. (Since Jay was our host, we resisted stealing the robes.)

Jan_17_BobSonnenblick
Sonnenblick Development chairman Bob Sonnenblick has six hotel projects in various stages of development across the US, ranging from select-service to full-service resorts. The top submarkets are on the waterfront, but there’s only a couple development parcels available on the beachfront from Ventura County down to San Diego, he says.

According to our moderator, Arent Fox partner Rich Brand, the first thing we know about hospitality is that nobody has ever bought a hotel that they thought was well-managed. The second thing? They always want to find that untapped market.

Julie says hotels that weren’t able to meet the PIP standards and lost their flag over the recession likely will need redevelopment to enter another brand. Jay cites aggressive labor unions and referendums sponsored by competitors among impediments to building new hotels.

Jan_17_RichBobBob says one market that scares him is Downtown LA, where a huge number of rooms are coming online. With the cost of new construction, even the select-service deals are $400k/key.

Measuring the benefits of a green hotel

Bob Sonnenblick, principal of Sonnenblick Development LLC, doesn’t see the value in green hotels.

Measuring the benefits of a green hotel

January 13 2014
A recent study found a hotel’s green certification does not translate into increased revenue.

The 200-room Muse Hotel in New York reports a positive impact on bottom line due to going green. (Photo: Kimpton Hotels)

The 200-room Muse Hotel in New York reports a positive impact on bottom line due to going green. (Photo: Kimpton Hotels)

By Alicia Hoisington
Copy Editor / Reporter
ahoisington@hotelnewsnow.com

REPORT FROM THE U.S.—The verdict is still unclear whether going green puts green back into hoteliers’ pockets, according to sources.

A recent study, “Hotel sustainability: Financial analysis shines a cautious green light,” found, on average, booking revenue neither increased nor decreased for eco-certified hotels. The study analyzed millions of individual bookings in more than 3,000 certified hotels, with a comparison group of 6,000 non-certified properties.

“Earning a green certification does not automatically result in a large revenue bump nor a revenue fall. In short, green is not a ‘silver bullet’ strategy,” the report stated.

“In this study, we just wanted to look at if putting a green leaf on Travelocity as an indicator of whether it’s sustainable or not, will that change the market performance. So that part we saw was neutral,” said Rohit Verma, professor at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration and an author of the study.

“We have another related study. … We have property-level cost data—cost for various types of energy usage, utilities and other things. And what we found in that study is that the hotels which are more sustainable are more productive in the sense that they are using better use of their resources than the hotels which are less sustainable,” he said.

Verma said if both studies are merged, the results show on the revenue side there is no difference between sustainable hotels and non-sustainable hotels. However, on the cost side, sustainable hotels have an advantage.

Cost, ROI of green
Ericka Nelson, GM of the 200-room Muse Hotel in New York, which is in Kimpton Hotels & Restaurant Group’s collection, sees an impact on bottom line when it comes to her hotel’s eco-certification.

“We find that today’s traveler is more aware and committed to eco-friendly travel, feeling a personal responsibility to lessen their carbon footprint,” she wrote in an email. “As a result, we do find that this affects our bookings in a positive way. … Our leisure guests consistently tell us that one of the reasons they stay with us is because of our eco-friendly practices.”

She said, as with any aspect of business, the eco-friendly products and practices must align with costs as well as demonstrate a return on investment.

“Fortunately, green products and initiatives have matured so much that many of these practices have saved us money,” Nelson said. “By investing in energy-saving measures over the years, for example, we have reduced our energy bills as well as our impact on the environment.”

She said occupancy for 2013 ended at 90.28% with an average daily rate of $329.

Bob Sonnenblick, principal of Sonnenblick Development LLC, doesn’t see the value in green hotels.

“If you had two identical hotels on a corner, and one of the hotels is green … and the other one isn’t, and I said to you, ‘Over the course of a year do you think that one hotel would do better making more money than the other?’ The green hotel will not make more money,” he said.


He said a green hotel is not able to charge a rate premium for having green characteristics. Likewise, if customers won’t pay for green, the concept will turn into a fad, lasting one or two years before it disappears from the industry, he said.


“We are developing six new hotels across the country, so we look into things as to whether or not they will be revenue-generating,” Sonnenblick said. “The bottom line is we’re not implementing any of those green characteristics in any of the six hotels because we found that we’re not going to make money off of it.


“Until there’s such a thing as profitability attached to it, I think you’re going to see across the entire industry people will talk about it; people will look at it, but in the end they will not implement,” he added.

But Nelson said hoteliers need to think about the guest experience.

“Green awareness is becoming more and more mainstream, and hoteliers must consider consumer demand,” she said.

She said there is an expectation that hotels will implement conservation initiatives behind the scenes that will reduce guests’ environmental impact without having any effect on the guest experience.

“Becoming a certified green hotel assures guests that you practice what you preach and that the hotel is up-to-date on the latest conservation methods,” Nelson added. “In this way, guests will keep returning to your property because they are confident in your commitment to green business practices.”

The green umbrella
Eric Ricaurte, principal of Greenview, a sustainability consultancy for the hospitality industry, said people tend to use the word “green” as an all-encompassing term. He said within the hotel industry there is so much segmentation—from business to leisure guests, to luxury to economy hotels, and so on.

“But when it comes to green, we suddenly forget everything else we’re talking about and just talk about one encompassing guest for one encompassing hotel. And that’s the biggest mistake—treating us as though we’re all the same,” he said.

He said it’s more important to look at what guests really care about. For instance, if guests are health-conscious they might want healthy food-and-beverage or in-room wellness options. Hoteliers should think similarly when it comes to green.

“You have to look at the different psychographics of the traveler. So that’s the biggest issue here that needs much further exploration—the psychographics, market segmentation, location segmentation,” he said.

Ricaurte believes green research should be expanded. “I would say there should be more studies on customer segmentation, with specific preferences, not just green ideas.”

SoCal Hotels Are Hot, Hot, Hot

BIZ_lare_masthead
January 9, 2014

The hotel room mini-bar may become an endangered species, but who cares? We need big bottles to celebrate the return of hotel development. Experts at Bisnow’s SoCal Hospitality Summit say we’ll see sticks coming out of the ground this year and into 2015.

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Before the program, we snapped Harley Ellis Devereaux’s Roy Reel with Sonnenblick Development chairman Bob Sonnenblick. Find out about Bob’s latest projects and those of others in coverage of our second panel next week.

Click for full article

New rooms pressure Daytona to attract more conventions, tourists

The beachside’s future looks brighter, but can Daytona Beach fill 1,300 new hotel rooms?

The beachside's future looks brighter, but can Daytona Beach fill 1,300 new hotel rooms?
By Jeffrey Cassady

jeffrey.cassady@news-jrnl.com

Published: Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 8:08 p.m.

Last Modified: Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 10:07 p.m.


DAYTONA BEACH — With new hotels poised to give the beachside what some observers call a long-overdue refresh, what could possibly go wrong?

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Well, there’s this: The law of supply and demand comes into play in a big way, and the prospect of new hotel rooms and meeting space holds both the promise of better times and concern about too much too soon.

Major hotel renovation and construction projects — including the proposed Hard Rock Hotel and two-tower Protogroup Inc. hotel-and-condominium complex — are set to add about 1,310 hotel rooms to the area’s 12,000-room-strong inventory in 2015 and 2016.

Though fresh rooms and new attractions that include the $400 million “Daytona Rising” renovation of Daytona International Speedway and the proposed One Daytona entertainment/retail development across the street will undoubtedly draw more overnight visitors in 2016, some hoteliers doubt those projects alone will be enough to keep the new hotels full of guests.

And they worry about what will happen to their properties — in terms of occupancy and room-rental rates — if the new hotels stand only partly full come 2016.

“The demand is not growing at the pace the supply is,” said Manoj Bhoola, president of Elite Hospitality, a company that operates two beachside Ormond Beach hotels and two hotels near the Speedway in Daytona Beach. “It will be harder for those of us who haven’t been foreclosed on or (gone) bankrupt to compete.”

Tourism officials and hoteliers say the key to keeping the new hotels filled is to aggressively market them to lure vacation bookings and secure group business long before the properties’ ribbon-cuttings.

“It’s a good thing if we’re adding branded, quality locations,” said Jason Reader, general manager of the 744-room Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort, the Volusia-Flagler area’s largest hotel. “That being said, if you add this new supply and you don’t do anything about creating demand, that’s not a good thing.”

The Daytona Beach area tourism industry has been growing. Hotels, vacation rental properties and campgrounds in the region generated $5.9 million in bed-tax revenues in fiscal year 2013, which ran from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30. That’s about 5 percent more than fiscal 2012, when the county collected around $5.6 million.

Other measurements indicate growth, as well. Average occupancy at Daytona Beach area hotels rose to 56 percent in 2012 — up from 53 percent the year before and in line with the area’s 20-year trend — and average room rental rates increased by $6.45 over that period to $105.28 in 2012.

To be sure, operators of the incoming hotels will promote their products — and, by extension, Daytona Beach — vigorously. But, industry watchers say more is needed, and growth needs to ramp up by 2016 to prevent the new hotels from doing little more than competing for customers who were going to visit the area anyway.

“If we’re not scared about 2016, we need to be really scared,” said David Rijos, general manager of The Shores Resort & Spa in Daytona Beach Shores, at a meeting of the Volusia County Tourist Development Council in October.

Rijos serves on the council, which advises the Volusia County Council on tourism issues.

Adding 1,310 hotel rooms — nearly 11 percent of what’s already available — in one year has all the makings of an overbuilt market, said Bob Sonnenblick, chairman of Los Angeles-based real estate finance and development company Sonnenblick Development.


“That’s a huge number for a market like Daytona — a huge red flag,” he said, adding that a growth rate of 1 to 2 percent per year is normal.


“You will see room rates drop by 30 percent overnight, and occupancy will drop (significantly)” as demand struggles to keep up with the surge of new rooms, he said.

CONVENTIONS PLAY KEY ROLE

Local industry watchers are planning for the crush of new rooms.

The Ocean Center, the Volusia County-run beachside convention center in Daytona Beach, should figure prominently in bringing more people to the area, Rijos said.

In 2009, the convention center completed an $82 million renovation and expansion. Recently, it played host to a series of large events that brought thousands of visitors to the area. Those included the Promise Keepers Christian men’s conference in October, which brought more than 4,000 people to the area, and Living Proof Live with evangelist Beth Moore, a Christian seminar that brought more than 8,000 visitors to Daytona Beach in November.

“The Ocean Center isn’t a silver bullet, but it certainly is our best bullet,” Rijos told the tourist development council.

Keeping the Ocean Center booked with events that fill hundreds of hotel rooms will require an effort that improves upon current bookings. The Ocean Center and Halifax Area Advertising Authority — the taxpayer-funded organizations tasked with bringing conventions to the area — spent the better part of the last year and a half at odds as to how to accomplish that, with parties from both sides accusing the other side of undermining their efforts.

The two organizations recently defined their roles, with the Ocean Center’s sales team focusing exclusively on booking that building and the ad authority working to bring conference business to area hotels and meeting spaces, such as Daytona International Speedway.

Additionally, the ad authority’s board in August voted to divert $400,000 of its budget to bring business to the Ocean Center. The convention facility used the money to hire new salespeople and establish an incentive fund to attract new events.

The changes should prevent the Ocean Center and ad authority from stepping on each others’ toes, said Don Poor, the convention center’s director.

“We can both focus on our own areas,” he said. “We can concentrate on convention business that fits the Ocean Center, and the (ad authority) can focus on … promoting the area.”

According to Ocean Center records, the convention center hosted 18 events estimated to use three or more hotels and at least 1,000 hotel rooms on their peak nights in the 2013 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30. That’s a drop from fiscal 2012, when it hosted 21 such events, and slightly higher than fiscal 2007 — before the renovation — when it hosted 17 major events. The Ocean Center has 23 large events booked for fiscal 2014, according to the report.

AVOIDING ‘A PRICE WAR’

The Ocean Center isn’t the only convention space on the beach. Hotels with meeting areas dot State Road A1A, as well.

In fact, the 200,000-square-foot Ocean Center stands across the street from the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront resort, which itself packs 60,000 square feet of meeting space.

And the supply is only going to grow.

The Hard Rock Hotel is expected to add 40,000 square feet of meeting space when it opens, while the Protogroup development will bring in another 15,100. Meanwhile, just up S.R. A1A from the Protogroup site, the recently sold Desert Inn will open with 25,000 to 30,000 feet of meeting space after the hotel’s new owners finish renovating the property in late-2015.

Because they’re smaller, hotels don’t have the means to play host to the kind of large events the Ocean Center does. However, business from meetings at the hotels and from sporting and other events held in the area are an important source of revenue, especially during the slow winter tourism months, said Jeffrey Hentz, executive director of the Halifax Area Advertising Authority.

Many groups book their trips and meetings two to five years out, which means the clock is ticking for the new hotels.

“If we’re not making sure the hotels are filled at a price point we want, we have to put heads in beds, even if we have to deeply discount,” Hentz said. “In general, if you don’t get the group business, you’re going to get it with (individual guests and families), and that’s very competitive and very expensive.”

If the new hotels don’t have booked group business when they open, they’ll have to fill the rest of their rooms somehow. And that could be very bad for the destination, Hentz said.

“They’ll all be going after the same business the other hotels are going after,” he said. “That will start a price war.”

To prevent this, the new hotels need to start booking as soon as possible.

“They have to start the day they start moving dirt,” Hentz said, adding their sales teams also need to accompany ad authority staff to trade shows and other events.

That’s the plan, said Ken Berthiaume, regional director of sales for Summit Hospitality Group, the company that bought the Desert Inn.

“Once we break ground, I’ll start pre-selling,” he said.

Summit intends to close the Desert Inn in late-2014 for renovations. The company hopes to re-open the hotel under a major hotel brand in 2015.

Protogroup plans to begin marketing its hotel rooms about a year before its 2016 opening, said attorney Rob Merrell, who represents the company locally.

A ‘GREATER LEVEL OF SUCCESS’

Though the new hotels could cause growing pains, observers say they are nonetheless needed to make Daytona Beach competitive with other destinations.

For years, the area has been losing tourists to counties like St. Johns and Seminole in large part because Daytona Beach’s selection of hotels is old and in need of major updates, said Mark Soskin, an economist with the University of Central Florida.

“The main thing keeping people from staying here was the low, low, low quality (of available hotel rooms),” Soskin said. “They didn’t consider those rooms as acceptable at any price.”

Henry Wolfond, chairman of Bayshore Capital, the Toronto company that is developing the Hard Rock, agrees that newer hotels are needed. When they’re built, they’ll work in tandem with the renovated Speedway and its restaurants and shops to encourage vacationers to take a second look at Daytona Beach, he said.

“New and remodeled hotel rooms will command a higher rate and attract tourists who are looking to stay in fresher accommodations and perhaps experience Daytona Beach for the first time,” he said. “If you look at how other areas in Florida, including South Beach and Sunny Isles in Miami, have transformed over the past two or three decades, you truly get a sense of what is possible.”

Also, industry watchers say the new branded properties will help sell the destination to professional meeting planners and vacationers looking to earn customer loyalty points with the hotel companies.

“The more flagged hotels we open up, the greater level of success we’re going to have in raising our rate structures and bringing in more customers that are loyal to those brands,” Hentz said.

Libby Gallant, general manager of Perry’s Ocean Edge Resort in Daytona Beach Shores, said she shares concerns about the incoming supply, but wouldn’t stop it from happening even if she could.

“We’re going to have to find that new leisure guest,” she said. “(They) are the bulk of our business, and we’re going to have to reach them to fill the new rooms coming in.”

Hotel-apalooza

Hotel-apalooza

December is known for one holiday in particular. It’s of course Repeal Day, Dec. 5, when Prohibition ended. But we’d like to add another big date. Bisnow’s SoCal Hospitality Summit. Our annual hotel check-up is Dec. 19 at the Montage Beverly Hills. This week, we spoke with two of our experts. Drinks weren’t served… but we could’ve if we wanted to.

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Sonnenblick Development chairman Bob Sonnenblick (looking festive at the Marina Del Rey boat parade) has two hotel projects funded and soon to get underway in California. He’s breaking ground in Q2 on the USC Hyatt House, a $75M, 200-key hotel on the USC Medical Center campus, next door to the County-USC hospital.

Bob tells us families of patients will be able to easily walk across the street. He’s also building a $40M Hyatt Place hotel inside the new terminal at Sacramento International Airport. And Bob’s got other projects in the hopper, including a 330-room Loews in Cathedral City on Highway 111 and a 335-room resort on 400 acres he bought in Pinehurst, NC. He’s actively looking for land for additional hotels, especially waterfront-oriented sites in the LA area.

[Click to read more!]

Lending pace is strong, but not frothy November 26 2013

Bob Sonnnenblick quoted as number 3 in the top 5 things to know: 26 November 2013
November 26 2013

Financing is plentiful for nearly all kinds of hotel deals, including acquisitions, refinancings and even new development, said speakers on a NAHIC panel.

By Ed Watkins
Editor-at-Large
ewatkins@hotelnewsnow.com

CHICAGO—While it’s a great time to be a borrower in the hotel industry, the market hasn’t become overheated … at least not yet, said speakers last week during a general session panel titled “Who’s got money” at the North America Hotel Investment Conference.

The panelists agreed financing is plentiful, especially for hotel acquisitions and refinancing, and even for new development. Rates and terms are also favorable.

“There’s more money in the market today than at any time in the last 30 years,” said Robert Sonnenblick, chairman and principal of Sonnenblick Development LLC. “There’s lots of competition among lenders to make deals.”

Sonnenblick, whose firm has six hotel development projects underway, said in the past 30 days he’s received construction loan commitments for two of the hotels. Five lenders bid on the senior construction loans, and six or seven firms tendered offers for preferred equity, he said.

Supply and demand dynamics and generally favorable hotel industry performance are fueling the interest from the lending community.

“(Loan-to-value ratios) are being pushed up to 75% in some cases because of where we are in the (industry’s) cycle,” said Scott Kaniewski, senior VP of HREC Investment Advisors. “Values are still appreciating and lenders are trying to build or protect market share, so they’re more aggressive in their underwriting. There’s lots and lots of competition, which allows borrowers to get some good deals.”

The panelists insisted that despite the liquidity in the market, the environment is not yet “frothy,” or in danger of overheating, as it did in the mid-2000s.

“I still see very diligent underwriting,” said Jeffrey Bucaro, senior VP of Aries Capital. “People are only lending on cash flows. Projections mean nothing, but they’re going back multiple years to see how the assets have performed.”

Pricing and terms
Bucaro said debt yields are compressing from 11% earlier this year to approximately 10.25% for many deals. LTVs are creeping upward.

“Not too long ago, LTVs were often 69% because no one wanted a ‘7’ in front of the number,” he said. “Now 72% to 74% are common. All things considered we’re in a good spot, not frothy.”

Michael G. Medzigian, chairman and managing partner of Watermark Capital Partners, outlined some of the loan pricing and terms he’s encountered in the marketplace in recent months. Medzigian’s companies have purchased 11 hotels so far in 2013 with several more closings anticipated before the end of the year, he said.

Medzigian said he’s able to secure debt at 50% to 60% LTV, including provisions for capital expenditures, with maturities between five and 10 years. Often, the loans are interest-only from 18 months to the full term of the loans. Amortization following the interest-only period is typically 25 to 30 years.

Medzigian said interest rates have crept up by about 25 basis points since May and are typically at about 4.25%, or up to 50 basis points higher, depending on the type of asset.

William G. Sipple, executive managing director of HVS Capital Corp., said bridge loan financing is available for as low as 6% interest to as high as 7% or 8%. Pricing for mezzanine loans ranges from 10% to 12%.

He said some loan originators are accommodating borrowers in other ways than rate and terms. He said his firm has arranged deals with limited or no cash management requirements.

Markets and segments
The panelists agreed the financing landscape changes by market and segment. They said different metrics are used for deals in hot markets such as New York and San Francisco.

“For whatever reason, and I can’t explain it, our industry has become unbelievably New York-centric,” Sonnenblick said. “New York has something like 9,000 new rooms (in the pipeline) so you would think if there was one city to shy away from, it would be New York, but all the standard underwriting rules don’t apply there.”

Kaniewski believes San Francisco is a strong market because of an upturn in commercial development and high barriers to entry for new hotel projects.

“In both cities you’re seeing a lot of inflows of capital from Europe and Asia, because investors from those regions view the (United States) as safe,” he said.

In general, there are five markets in the U.S. that attract the majority of financing, Medzigian said. He said while a deal in one of these cities will attract between 15 and 20 debt quotes, that number is cut in half in the next tier of markets.

He said his deal focus is on the areas of economic growth in the country, which are the two coasts and the Sunbelt.

“A map of our assets looks like a smiley face because that’s where you’ll see the growth,” he said.

Other panelists said product segmentation is just as important as market location in finding favorable financing.

In secondary and tertiary markets, Kaniewski said there is plenty of money for select-service hotels with flags from one of the primary franchise companies.

“Once you move into full service in those markets, financing can be more of an issue. There are options, but it’s a thinner market than there is for select service,” he said.

Financing is most difficult to obtain for the resort segment, especially for new development, said the speakers.

“Other than a gaming deal, I don’t think there has been a construction loan made on a major resort in the U.S. in the last year,” said Sonnenblick.

– See more at: http://www.hotelnewsnow.com/Article/12730/Lending-pace-is-strong-but-not-frothy#sthash.WxVHwAFJ.dpuf

BIZ NOW SoCal Hospitality Summit

BIZ_NOW_SO_CAL_SUMMIT

Thursday, December 19, 2013                                             The Montage Beverly Hills

SPONSORED BY:
Arent Fox | CBRE | Pircher, Nichols & Meeks

Robert Sonnenblick Jay Newman Mark Wiesenthal

Bob Sonnenblick
Chairman
Sonnenblick Development LLC

Jay Newman
Principal & COO
The Athens Group

Mark Wiesenthal
Principal
Platinum Equity

SoCal Hospitality Summit

Our 3rd Annual Southern California Hospitality event brings together top industry players to tackle some of the toughest questions in the industry. Join us for insight into investment in Southern California hotel properties; how the fundamentals are looking and what’s driving them; what we have learned from challenges in the recent year; where industry leaders are finding opportunities; and how are deals getting done. We look forward to seeing you there!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Montage Beverly Hills
(Marquesa Ballroom, Lobby Level)
225 North Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
drivingd-button

AGENDA

8-9 AM Continental Breakfast & Networking

9-10:30 AM All-Star Panelists

10:30-11 AM Post-Panel Networking

register now green

5 things to know: 26 November 2013

Bob Sonnnenblick quoted as number 3 in the top 5 things to know: 26 November 2013

Bob Sonnnenblick quoted as number 3 in the top 5 things to know: 26 November 2013


5 things to know: 26 November 2013
HNN_FiveThings_3 While it’s a great time to be a borrower in the hotel industry, the market hasn’t become overheated … at least not yet, said panelists last week during a general session at the North America Hotel Investment Conference.

HNN’s Ed Watkins reported from the conference that financing is plentiful, especially for hotel acquisitions and refinancing, and even for new development. Rates and terms are also favorable.

“There’s more money in the market today than at any time in the last 30 years,” said Robert Sonnenblick, chairman and principal of Sonnenblick Development LLC. “There’s lots of competition among lenders to make deals.”

– See more at: http://www.hotelnewsnow.com/article/12732#sthash.MrtK4LeX.dpuf

Are you thinking about attending NATHIC?

hotelmanagement
North America Hotel Investment Conference in Chicago Nov. 20-22. 2013

Are you thinking about attending NATHIC?

Come for the money.

Take a finance deep-dive and learn from the top investment minds in the industry. CEO’s and Presidents from leading hotel companies will discuss relevant topics, from equity sources to alternative financing and renovation budget management. For a full educational program, view the conference agenda.

speakers

Real Estate Mezzanine Financing & Subordinated Debt | Nov 18, 2013 NY, NY

IMN Borrower and Investor Forum

Conference Venue:

Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel
811 7th Avenue 53rd Street
New York, NY 10019
USA

Phone: 800-325-3535
Fax: 212-262-4410
Website: http://www.sheratonnewyork.com
 

IMN Real Estate Conferences is please to announce that Mr Robert Sonnenblick, Chairman of Sonnenblick Development LLC, has been added to the speaker list at its upcoming Real Estate and Mezzanine Financing Conference to be held in New York City on November 18, 2013.

Mr Sonnenblick will be speaking on the topic of:
A Borrower’s Perspective on Today’s Real Estate Lending Market

4:00PM Track B: Portfolio Lenders Vs. Non-Traditional Lenders Vs. CMBS & Conduit Loan Financing – Convergence Among Lenders? The Borrowers’ Perspective

As competition for good deals and credit worthy borrowers continues to heat up, are lenders originating loans that are outside of their core product lines? Are commercial banks originating loans customarily associated with alternative lenders? Are B note buyers looking to get into CMBS origination? What are insurance companies doing to remain competitive? Are there new players coming to market looking to originate loan products across the spectrum? Are lenders more willing to follow their clients across state borders and do deals in new markets? Is the convergence among lenders here to stay?

Panelists:
Robert Deckey, CIO, GEORGE COMFORT & SONS [ BIO ]
Adam Altman, Partner, KABR REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT PARTNERS
Arvind Bajaj, Managing Director, MADISON MARQUETTE [ BIO ]
Kyle Allan Morque, Vice President, Finance, MOINIAN GROUP
Bob Sonnenblick, Chairman, SONNENBLICK DEVELOPMENT, LLC [ BIO ]

Robert Deckey CIO GEORGE COMFORT & SONS
Deckey
Arvind Bajaj Managing Director MADISON MARQUETTE
Bajaj
Bob Sonnenblick Chairman SONNENBLICK DEVELOPMENT, LLC
Sonnenblick

North America Hotel Investment Conference | Chicago | Nov. 20-22, 2013

North America Hotel Investment Conference in Chicago Nov. 20-22. 2013

IHIF Summit-Series Conferences is pleased to announce the addition of Mr Robert
Sonnenblick, Chairman of Sonnenblick Development LLC, to its speaker list at the
upcoming North America Hotel Investment Conference in Chicago on Nov. 22. 2013.
Mr Sonnenblick will be joining the Hotel Finance panel.

NATHIC History

A Look Back

Launched in 2010 as the Distressed Hotel Summit, the North America Hotel Investment Conference has since evolved into the North American anchor of the International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) Summit Series. Presented by Hotel Management, the IHIF Summit Series produces premier, world-class investment conferences that focus on growth and financing opportunities for the hotel industry.

Since inception, NATHIC has delivered a timely service, focusing on the issues pertinent to current hospitality investment professionals. NATHIC concluded its fourth annual event in Washington, D.C. Nov. 28-29, 2012. Anthony Melchiorri, star of Travel Channel’s hit show, Hotel Impossible and President and Founder of the New York-based consulting company Argeo Hospitality, was the keynote speaker, and answered audience questions in a session moderated by Mike Cahill, Chief Executive Officer of Hospitality Real Estate Counselors (HREC).

Justifying add-on fees to guests

HNNNameplateWithTag

Justifying add-on fees to guests
20 Aug 2013

Hoteliers who add extra fees and surcharges to guests’ bills need to communicate the rationale for the practice and provide value for the extra charges, sources said.
surcharges_feature

By Ed Watkins
Editor-at-Large
ewatkins@hotelnewsnow.com

REPORT FROM THE U.S.—Hoteliers who add fees and surcharges to guests’ bills need to communicate why they do so and what value customers receive from the extra charges, sources said.

“Transparency is critical, especially with the younger generations of travelers, who expect everything to be transparent,” said Henry H. Harteveldt, travel industry analyst with consulting firm Hudson Crossing. “Their friends share everything through social media and they expect companies to be completely open to them. Their mindset is if you’re going to charge me for something you need to let me know what it is for and what value it represents and you need to tell me upfront.”

According to new research, this year hoteliers in the United States will collect $2.1 billion in fees and surcharges from guests. That’s up from $2 billion in 2012, a 6% increase, and nearly double from the $1.2 billion collected in 2000. The research is conducted annually by Bjorn Hanson, divisional dean of the Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management at New York University.

The total includes items such as resort fees, early cancellation fees, telephone surcharges, minibar re-stocking fees, in-room safe charges, automatic gratuities and charges for high-speed Internet access.

Hanson said in recent years hoteliers have become more effective in communicating fees and surcharges by placing tent cards in guestrooms, including information in guest directories, requiring guests to initial a form at check-in or simply “placing a collar on a bottle of water with the price on it.”

“As a result, there is less of a sense that fees and surcharges are an ambush to get more revenues from guests,” Hanson said. “(These fees) have become more well-known. It doesn’t mean guests like them, but they’ve become used to them.”

He said the intense media attention as airlines ratcheted up their fee schedules has made it easier for hoteliers to adopt the practice.

“The fact that airlines started implementing what can be viewed as more-aggressive fees and surcharges has heightened awareness of (the practice) but also almost made it a common travel standard, making it a little bit easier for hotels to implement fees and surcharges,” he said.

Hotel marketing consultant Brenda Fields said it’s important for hoteliers to provide fair value for fees they charge or risk a backlash from guests.

“The key for hoteliers is to get it right,” Fields said in an email. “That is, charging appropriately, without gouging. Offer a product or service that works, and communicate it to the guest. Negativity can be overcome or minimized when there is a better understanding.”

The best approach, Harteveldt said, is for hoteliers to explain to guests how bundling the fees gives them better value than paying for services on an a la carte basis.

He said some guests will accept some fees when they feel they’re “paying for a product that provides some kind of added value, whether it’s improving the quality of the stay or its efficiency.”

Resort fees and charges for Internet service are the most controversial hotel fees, Harteveldt said.

“Resort fees are simply ridiculous because they are indirect rate hikes,” he said. “Consumers generally don’t like them, but especially when the property isn’t even a resort.”

Guest responses to resort fees fall into several categories, Hanson said. Some might not like extra fees but they understand it’s become an industry practice, especially at resorts.

“Some guests actually like the resort fee because for them it’s better than paying separately for a pool chair, towel or an umbrella or to receive faxes,” he said. “And, of course, there are those who say, ‘I don’t want any of those services yet I’m being asked to pay for them.’”

Robert Sonnenblick, president of Sonnenblick Development, is especially vocal in his criticism of resort fees, calling them “a highly deceptive practice.” He said he would never add a resort fee to any of the hotels he owns.

“My biggest problem is not the concept of resort fees; it is the concept of involuntary resort fees, and there is a distinction between the two,” Sonnenblick said. “When you call to reserve a room, you ask for a room rate and if they then add on a mandatory $20 fee, the $150 room rate they told you on the phone becomes $170, which means they lied to you.”

Even the perception of extra fees can upset some guests, said Birgit Radin, managing director of the DoubleTree Magnificent Mile and The Inn of Chicago, and a Hotel News Now columnist.

“It depends on how you define fees and surcharges,” she said. “Some customers perceive an Internet connection charge as a fee; they perceive not including breakfast in the rate as a fee. They see it as a nickel and diming.”

She said because many guests are accustomed to free Internet service and free breakfast when they stay at limited-service hotels, they don’t want to pay for these things when they stay at full-service properties.

At one time, energy surcharges were another source of many guest complaints. In the early 2000s, some hotel companies and properties instituted these charges to offset rising utility costs. Facing consumer complaints and possible legal actions, hoteliers gradually dropped the unpopular add-on fee, and Hanson doesn’t believe they’ll be back.

“It’s highly unlikely, unless there is some extraordinary spike in energy costs,” he said. “It’s a very sensitive issue. It would be very unpopular unless it could be justified by a significant jump in energy costs, but even then when there is a surcharge of $5 (per night) guests are wise enough to know it doesn’t cost that for the energy they use in their guestrooms.”

IMN – 2nd Annual Real Estate CFO Forum (East)

IMN

Press Release: (New York, NY). August, 2013.

Los Angeles-based real estate financier and developer Robert Sonnenblick, chairman
of Sonnenblick Development LLC, has been chosen by IMN Conferences Inc. to speak at
their upcoming Real Estate CFO Forum in NYC on September 30th.
The conference will be held at the Downtown Marriott Hotel on West Street.
Mr Sonnenblick will be headlining the 12 noon panel on “Financing and Capital Raising
for Real Estate Projects”.

real-estate-cfo-eej1394


Conference Venue:

Marriott New York Downtown
85 West Street
New York, NY 10006

Phone: 877-513-6305 or 800-266-9432
Website: http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/nycws-new-york-marriott-downtown


12:00 Capital Raising Techniques & Financing
[ Submit Session Question(s) ]

Health of the commercial real estate market * Finding available sources of financing * Raising third party capital * Alternative capital raising strategies * Markets for funds of various sizes * Fund structure * Co-investment opportunities * Marketing and strategy * Raising funds outside of the United States * Regulation, compliance and oversight * Reporting, governance & transparency

Moderator:
Steven M. Moore, Managing Director, Real Estate Advisory Group, KPMG CORPORATE FINANCE LLC [ BIO ]

Panelists:
Jason Tighe, VP Regional Finance Director, AREA PROPERTY PARTNERS [ BIO ]

Austin Khan, Chief Investment Officer, LAURUS CORPORATION

Frank Falbo, Partner, MAYER BROWN LLP [ BIO ]

Bob Sonnenblick, Chairman, SONNENBLICK DEVELOPMENT, LLC [ BIO ]


Steven Moore Managing Director, Real Estate Advisory Group KPMG CORPORATE FINANCE LLC

Moore

Bob Sonnenblick<br /><br />
Chairman<br /><br />
SONNENBLICK DEVELOPMENT, LLC

Sonnenblick

Frank Falbo<br /><br />
Partner<br /><br />
MAYER BROWN LLP

Falbo

The Borrowers’ Forum on Non-Bank Real Estate Finance & Subordinate Debt – September 9-10, 2013 – Santa Monica, CA

PRESS RELEASE: Santa Monica, Calif.
Bob Sonnenblick, Chairman of Los Angeles-based Sonnenblick Development LLC has
been chosen by IMN Conferences Inc to moderate the “Debt-to-Equity” panel at their
upcoming Real Estate Finance Conference to be held September 9th at the Fairmont Hotel
in Santa Monica. The panel begins at 12 noon. See: http://www.imn.org/real-estate/

The Borrowers' Forum on Non-Bank Real Estate Finance & Subordinate Debt - September 9-10, 2013 - Santa Monica, CA

 

Sept_9-10-2013_Santa_Monica

 

 

 

 

12:15 Dequity Plays: The Equity Player & Why You Would Go Debt?

• Seller financing • Buying debt • Cost of capital implications • Recap opportunities • What is the goal of acquiring the note? • Cost of debt • Funds: Did you have to run this by your investors? Why/Why not?When is an equity player a debt player? When there is $$ to be made is the easy answer but it is more involved than attacking the death star. This session will be the Yoda to your young Skywalker discussing some of the more detailed reasons that equity players turn to the force know as the dark side of debt investing.

bob_sonnenblick Session Chair:
Bob Sonnenblick, Chairman, SONNENBLICK DEVELOPMENT, LLC
[ BIO ]

leslie_lundin Panel Participants:
Andrew Brian Brog, President, BROG PROPERTIES [ BIO ]
Leslie Lundin, Managing Partner, LBG REALTY ADVISORS, LLC [ BIO ]
John Warful, President, METROPOLITAN PACIFIC CAPITAL

 

This Dog Loves Government Tenants

Sonnenblick Development’s Bob Sonnenblick is keeping his fingers crossed—and not just for while zip-lining through the rainforest in Costa Rica.Biz Now

Bob Sonnenblick and Peaches

Most people know that Sonnenblick Development is focusing on hotel development. But before that, chairman Bob Sonnenblick (with Peaches, the company’s director of strategic planning and adorable snouts) specialized in development of government-tenanted build-to-suit office buildings like Norwalk Government Center. The ownership entity, Sonnenblick-Del Rio Norwalk LLC, just signed a 60k SF full-floor lease with Accenture LLP. The international consulting firm is moving from El Segundo under an 11-year lease valued over $12M. (Asked what she likes to see on the top of buildings, Peaches said “Green Ruff.”)

The 464k SF building sits on 22 acres at 12440 Imperial Hwy in Norwalk. The Accenture deal brings it to 95% leased. Norwalk Government Center is the LA HQ for the Department of Homeland Security,

The 464k SF building sits on 22 acres at 12440 Imperial Hwy in Norwalk. The Accenture deal brings it to 95% leased. Norwalk Government Center is the LA HQ for the Department of Homeland Security, and other tenants include The County of LA, State of California, and FBI. (At this office, thanks to background checks, everyone figures out their Secret Santa in no more than eight seconds.) Studley’s Liron Nelik and Laurie Condon repped the tenant, while CBRE’s John Biven and Melissa Garcia repped the building.

Only one more shopping day until tomorrow. Send your story ideas to julie@bisnow.com.

subscribere

Bob Sonnenblick to moderate Hotel Feasibility Panel at BLLA Conference on Oct 23rd

BLLA_OCT_23-2013

9:30 am — 10:30 am BLOSSOM BALLROOM

PROVING PROJECT FEASIBILITY

This session discusses how to analyze the market and determine the direct competition and provides the details of what goes into a Market & Economic Feasibility Study. A Panel of Experts with experience in commissioning market and feasibility studies as well as those who write them discuss why this MUST be your first step – even before closing on your site or hotel.

Moderator: Bob Sonnenblick; Chairman, Sonnenblick Development LLC

Panelists:
Larry Broughton; CEO, BroughtonHOTELS
John Arnett; Strategic Advisory, Warnick + Company
Bruce Baltin, Sr. Vice President, PKF
Afshin Kateb; CFO, SBE/SLS Hotels
Dan Flannery; COO, Morgans Hotel Group

BLLA’s 2nd Annual International Boutique Lifestyle Hospitality Leadership Symposium is scheduled for October 21-23, 2013 in Los Angeles. To ATTEND, EXHIBIT or SPONSOR go directly to the event website at: www.boutiqueleadershipconference.com.

Register Now Become a member

Developers vying for shot at old City Hall land

Developers vying for shot at old City Hall land

Newport City Council expected to vote on one of three proposals — two hotel projects and a mixed-use residential development.

Sonnenblick Development proposed a 148-room high-end luxury hotel, with 15 townhouse suites and 12 free-standing villas. The hotel would also include underground parking, along with other amenities. (Courtesy Sonnenblick Development / Daily Pilot / July 5, 2013)

Sonnenblick Development proposed a 148-room high-end luxury hotel, with 15 townhouse suites and 12 free-standing villas. The hotel would also include underground parking, along with other amenities. (Courtesy Sonnenblick Development / Daily Pilot / July 5, 2013)

By Jill Cowan
http://www.dailypilot.com/news/tn-dpt-me-0706-city-hall-reuse-20130703,0,7623946.story
July 5, 2013 | 8:08 p.m.

The morning was chilly, the marine layer still firmly blanketing the Balboa Peninsula.

“This is Ground Zero for what people think about as Newport Beach,” said longtime resident and developer Bob Olson.

The grounds of Newport Beach’s now-vacant former City Hall didn’t look like much. A remote religious shrine tucked in the wilds of Thailand might have had more visitors at that moment.

But Olson, looking at what for decades had served as the city’s civic core, along Newport Boulevard, saw a unique 130-room hotel, complete with a spa, rooftop bar and upscale dining options, built in a style that would pay tribute to the community’s nautical history.

On Tuesday, from the still glitteringly new confines of a much different City Hall near Newport Center, the Newport Beach City Council will consider whether to accept a staff recommendation and move forward with Olson’s vision or choose one of two other proposals for the 4.3-acre site. At the 7 p.m. meeting, the public will also have one more chance to weigh in on the matter.

The Shopoff Group, which is also working with the city on the planned Uptown Newport development near John Wayne Airport, proposed a mixed-use residential development, with 99 units renting for an average of about $5,058 per month. The proposal also includes underground parking, along with a public plaza and 15,000 square feet of commercial space.

Sonnenblick Development proposed a luxury hotel, but at a higher price point than the one proposed by Olson’s firm, RD Olson Development. Sonnenblick’s proposed 148 rooms would go for an average daily rate of $371, versus Olson’s $279. The proposed Sonnenblick hotel, which would include about a dozen each of townhouse suites and free-standing villas, would also have a spa and rooftop bar, as well as underground parking.

According to the report, the RD Olson proposal fit best with the city’s vision of the surrounding Lido Village, architecturally and in terms of public access. Furthermore, while both hotels were projected to better stimulate activity in the area than homes, concerns about the viability of the Sonnenblick hotel because of its high price point meant the RD Olson proposal won out with staff on an economic level.

Residents and officials hope that whichever project is chosen, it will revitalize Lido Village, which has languished with vacant storefronts and little tourist traffic.

Olson said that if the Lido House Hotel — the name his firm proposed — were built, guests would spend money eating out at nearby restaurants before biking to the Balboa Fun Zone, and Newport residents would grab coffee at the hotel’s coffee shop or enjoy a night out at the hotel’s bar.

He pointed out a row of sleepy storefronts along 32nd Street.

“Guests will be coming here to experience Newport Beach, and we encourage our guests to come out and explore this area,” he said. “Let’s say your family owns this building, so they say, ‘Let’s fix it up, now that we’ve got some economic activity.'”

Although the vast majority of community members who’ve spoken on the matter have echoed that logic, pushing for a hotel over residential units, Bill Shopoff, principal of the Shopoff Group, said he saw unanswered questions in the hotel proposals, particularly with regard to bed tax projections.

According to the city’s staff report, which culled information from the companies’ respective proposals, the RD Olson hotel would generate about $1.13 million per year in tax revenue for the city and pay about $420,000 per year to the city in rent, for a total approaching $1.55 million.

All three proposals involve a 99-year lease. Other details would be negotiated with the chosen company.

The Sonnenblick hotel, similarly, was projected to generate for the city significantly more in tax revenue in a typical year, $1.59 million, than it would from its lease, which would generate about $600,000 in a year, for a total of $2.19 million.

The Shopoff complex, on the other hand, is projected to generate $230,000 in taxes during a year, while its lease is projected to generate $1.01 million in a year.

But Shopoff cautioned that the transient occupancy tax projections might be optimistic, given the many economic factors that could affect a hotel — not to mention the long planning and development process, which will require Coastal Commission input.

“I think our economics are comparable to or superior to the economics of a hotel,” Shopoff said. “If the hotel were going to be built today, I’d be more certain, but that market changes more rapidly. I don’t think the project will begin construction for several more years.”

At various public meetings about the site’s redevelopment, including an April study session on the proposals, questions about parking have arisen.

Both Shopoff and Sonnenblick proposed underground parking, though according to the staff report, building the garages would require extensive excavation, shoring and, probably, “dewatering,” because the site is so close to the ocean.

Nevertheless, Sonnenblick questioned whether the estimated 145 surface parking spots proposed by RD Olson would be enough.

“The largest difference in the proposals is that our project includes underground parking,” said Bob Sonnenblick, the firm’s principal. “And theirs, Olson’s, assumes no on-site parking at all.”

He added, “The other difference is that we’re really proposing a five-star luxury hotel … and previously the Olson group has built Courtyard by Marriott-type projects.

“The difference between those two levels of hotel quality will lead to a fairly substantial difference in hotel taxes received by the city over the course of the next 30 years.”

But Neil MacFarlane, longtime Lido Isle resident and former president of the Lido Isle Community Assn., and others have said they trust RD Olson to build a hotel and run it at viable rates.

“We think [Olson] will actually build a hotel,” he said. “He’s here to stay and he’ll operate it successfully.”

In any case, the development could be the city’s best — and last — shot at reviving Lido Village, said Hugh Helm, who spoke on behalf of the association over coffee at the Woody’s Diner just across Finley Avenue from the site.

“We’ve got our chance to do this right,” he said. “If not, we’re gonna have to live with it for a long time.”

Jill.cowan@latimes.com

Twitter: @jillcowan

Side-by-side:

RD Olson Development

Development type: Boutique hotel

Rooms: 130

Projected cost: $46.6 million

Operator: Destination Hotels & Resorts

Room rates: $279 per night on average

Public plaza and pedestrian paths: 0.68 acres

Parking: 145 spaces, surface only

Building height: Four stories and a tower at 58 feet, 5 inches

Sonnenblick Development

Development type: Boutique hotel

Rooms: 148

Projected cost: $81.8 million

Operator: Auberge Resorts

Room rates: $379 per night on average

Public plaza and pedestrian paths: 1.3 acres

Parking: 210 spaces, underground garage

Building height: Four stories at 55 feet, with a tower at 65 feet.

Shopoff Group

Units: 99

Projected cost: $61.3 million

Operator: Riverstone Property Management

Rent: $5,058 per month on average

Public plaza and pedestrian paths: 1.2 acres

Parking: 325 spaces, underground garage

Building Height: Four stories at 55 feet.