Hotel Defaults On The Rise
On today’s show we’re talking about how more New York City hotel owners are defaulting on their mortgages, succumbing to a crush of new supply and rising expenses.
New York’s average daily room rate fell to $255.16 last year, according to hospitality research firm STR Global. That is down from $271.15 in 2014 and the lowest figure since at least 2013. A continued construction boom could push these numbers down further: 22,117 new hotel rooms were under construction or in planning as of January, according to STR.
Here are a few examples. A $98 million financing package for two Manhattan hotels has sunken into default. As it turns out, I’ve stayed at one of these hotels. The debt, which dates to late 2014, is secured by two midtown lodgings: the 148-key Hampton Inn on 43rd Street and the 135-key Holiday Inn Express Herald Square, on the West side on 36th Street.
When Cantor Commercial Real Estate originated the five-year, interest-only debt five years ago, income for the Hampton Inn covered debt-service requirements more than two times over, with a debt-service coverage ratio of 2.04. But by June that number had declined to 1.28.
Revenue at the pair of hotels has held more or less steady over the course of the loan, rising to $21.9 million this year from $21.7 million at origination. But expenses have grown more rapidly: They’re up 15 percent over the same period, rising to $14.5 million this summer from $12.6 at origination.
Otherwise, performance has been strong: As of 2019’s halfway point, the Hampton Inn’s 12-month occupancy rate stood at 92.3 percent, with the hotel earning an average daily rate of $224.65
Earlier in 2019, the owners of the NoMad Hotel, a luxury independent property located near Madison Square Park in New York, defaulted on about $140M of debt. The property was in jeopardy of going to foreclosure last June amid conflicts between the partners who own the property.
At the 11th hour, the partners came together to save the property.
Most recently, the old Milford Plaza Hotel in Times Square has run into trouble. This 1,331-room property was renamed Row Hotel. The property is in default on a loan package had a principal balance of $260.2 million.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the loan could now sell for as little as $50 million, say people familiar with the matter.
The debt, which is secured by a long-term lease on the hotel rooms, has been in default since 2018 because income from the rooms isn’t enough to cover debt payments and rising expenses, according to the WSJ report.
Several other hotel owners have had similar trouble. In June, a lender filed to foreclose on a hotel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, over a defaulted $68 million loan. In December, a group of international lenders filed to foreclose on a Times Square hotel and retail tower once valued at $2.4 billion. Last month, the owner of the Blakely hotel in Midtown Manhattan said he would shut it down, citing stiff competition.
And this month, a lender filed to foreclose on the former Hotel Americano, which in December was rebranded as Selina Chelsea.