Asset repositioning is at once artful and pecuniary. In regard to hotels, it means identifying and achieving an experience and aesthetic thread at a cost that delivers return on investment.
For Pyramid Hotel Group, the Boston-based hotel and asset management company, renovating and reimagining hotels is old hat, but no one project is ever the same.
One of its most recent turnaround projects, for which it received the HAMA Europe 2017 Asset Management Achievement Award, co-sponsored by Questex Hospitality Group (the parent company of Hotel Management) and HAMA Europe, was the Temple Bar Hotel in Dublin, Ireland. The award was received by Pyramid's Christopher Pfohl, SVP of hotel acquisitions and new business, at The International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF).
The 136-room asset is located in the Temple Bar district, a once-rundown area on the south bank of the River Liffey that in the early 1990s began a government-aided rebirth that attracted small shops, artists and galleries to the area.
The Temple Bar Hotel originally opened in 1994 and operated as a three-star hotel up until it was put on the market in summer 2014 by an Irish owner, which at the time was reportedly fielding offers in the range of €27 million to €30 million.
Around this time, U.S.-based alternative investment manager Angelo Gordon formed a joint venture with Pyramid Hotel Ltd. to acquire the hotel for approximately €27 million (€206,000 per key). Gordon held the majority equity, with Pyramid having a minority stake and tasked with hotel and project management. Contracts for the sale were signed in December 2014, but the deal did not close until March 2015.
What set this transaction apart from others was that it became Pyramid’s first acquisition/project in Europe; concurrent to the deal, Pyramid opened a European headquarters in Dublin under the leadership of Casey Spilman, VP of new business for Europe. For Pyramid, a deal in Ireland made sense: The company’s CEO, Rick Kelleher, is of Irish heritage and in Europe Pyramid was looking to strike first in English-speaking regions.