ANAHEIM, Calif. — As the coronavirus pandemic wanes, real estate investors are gobbling up hotels near Disneyland and looking for more deals.
Within the past month, at least four hotels, including two in the Anaheim Resort District, where Disneyland and the Anaheim Convention Center are located, have new owners.
“You’ve got a lot of liquidity in the market, and investors are capitalizing on the pent-up [travel] demand,” said Justin Myers, a vice president at Atlas Hospitality Group, an Irvine-based hotel consultancy and brokerage firm.
Myers recently represented American Koyu Hotels in the $22 million acquisition of the Candlewood Suites Anaheim, a six-story 152-room hotel within walking distance of Disneyland’s Harbor Boulevard entrance.
Myers declined to name the seller of the property, citing a confidentiality agreement.
According to commercial real estate data site Reonomy, the seller was Foster West Anaheim Properties, a subsidiary of Philadelphia-based global real estate asset manager, CenterSquare Investment Management.
CenterSquare bought the property for $20 million in 2015, property records show, and the following year conducted a multi-million-dollar renovation.
The sales come as Anaheim hoteliers try to rebound from the economic fallout caused by the coronavirus pandemic. For most of the past year, hotels across the country, specifically within the city’s resort district, suffered due to the closure of Disneyland, the Anaheim Convention Center, shutdown orders, and travel restrictions.
Before the pandemic, Anaheim’s hotel occupancy rate hovered around 84%. The national hotel occupancy rate is 66%. When the pandemic hit, a combination of the government shutdown orders and travel restrictions closed many hotels. Those that remained open saw their occupancy rate dip to single digits.
Some hoteliers couldn’t weather the financial impact of the pandemic, forcing their hand in selling their hotel assets.
As part of its bankruptcy proceeding, Singapore-based Eagle Hospitality Trust sold five hotels in the U.S., including the Embassy Suites by Hilton Anaheim North, for $33.1 million.
Other hotels in and adjacent Anaheim have also sold in the past month:
Utah-based real estate investment firm, Lodging Dynamics Hospitality Group, closed on the five-story 174-room Element Anaheim Resort Convention Center for $58 million, Reonomy property records show. The property, within walking distance to Disneyland, will open next month.
Real estate investment firm AWH Partners, using funds from a subsidiary of Apollo Global Management, acquired the 461-room DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Anaheim Orange County in Orange. AWH did not disclose the sale price.
Myers, the vice president at Atlas Hospitality, said many real estate investors were expecting a feeding frenzy of deals for distressed hotels, but few are available for sale, at least for now.
Many hotels were able to weather the financial impact of the pandemic thanks to various government programs helping businesses.
However, he believes that with California fully reopened and Disneyland increasing capacity, there will be a lot of demand for hotels in Anaheim and Orange County in the coming months.
“There was a lot of capital raised in the last 18 months that was going to go after distressed hotel real estate,” Myers said. “That has not materialized yet. But the clock is ticking. Investors have to deploy that money and buy properties that haven’t maybe rebounded and come to the market.”
But don’t expect any deals, he said.
“Investors are chasing very few deals,” he said. “They have a clock ticking, and they should expect to pay market and retail prices.”