UK investor funds five US sites for hybrid concept
Henley, a UK-based private equity real estate firm, is teaming with WaterWalk Hotel Apartments to develop five franchise locations of the hybrid hospitality concept in three U.S. states. As part of the $100 million agreement, Henley said it has selected sites for four of those properties—in Albany, N.Y., Charlotte, N.C., Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and North Orlando, Fla.—with construction starts for all set for January 2016.
The WaterWalk concept was launched last year by Jack DeBoer, the founder of Residence Inn, Summerfield Suites, Candlewood Suites and Value Place brands. His latest endeavor opened its first site, in Wichita, Kan., and the company says that property achieved full occupancy within seven months.
“WaterWalk’s versatility as a hybrid property type gives investors and franchisees an unmatched opportunity in the real estate industry by providing the strong revenue potential associated with upscale extended-stay hotels and the capital structure and valuation of an apartment,” said David Redfern, president of WaterWalk’s Real Estate Development and Franchising Groups. “Henley realized this was a strong franchise partnership due to the demand for this unique product.”
Ian Rickwood, Chief Executive Officer at Henley, said the deal with WaterWalk “represents another major milestone for Henley as we further our international presence and enter the U.S. market. …Our intention is that we will add more units to these first five and engage in additional investment and development activity in the U.S.”
WaterWalk’s hybrid model of hotel and apartment combines traditional hotel services into a gated, purpose-built community. In addition to Henley’s five sites, Boer’s company says construction will begin this year on WaterWalk complexes in Louisville, Ky., Denver, Raleigh, N.C., Tulsa, Okla., and San Antonio.
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