Gaw Capital to gain ownership of NYC's controversial Standard Hotel

Balazs will retain a 20-percent stake in the company, in addition to stakes he holds in individual hotels throughout the company's portfolio.
The Standard High Line, New York

Hong Kong's Gaw Capital acquired The Standard High Line Hotel for likely 15 percent less than the asking price set in an uncompleted contract deal in 2014. According to the New York Post, a Gaw Capital-controlled fund is in advanced negotiations to purchase the property for $340 million. 

Standard International was reported to be in contract to acquire the hotel for $400 million from Dune Capital Management and Greenfield in early 2014, but the deal was never completed. Corey Tuttle, marketing and communications VP at Standard International, told the New York Post that the alleged transaction was "incorrect information. The original owners still own the property."

Alleged buyer Gaw Capital has assets valued at $8 million around the globe. Gaw Capital USA, an American affiliate, has over $2.7 billion in in gross assets under management, including Los Angeles' Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel and the recently-purchased Marriott City Center in Oakland, Calif.  

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It is likely that the Standard is being sold for $60 million less than its listed price in 2014 because RevPAR, occupancy and F&B revenue decreased significantly since early 2014 as competition from new supply and Airbnb increased. Nearly 16,000 new guestrooms will be added to NYC's stock on top of the city's existing record high of 115,145 guestrooms. 

The competition is especially intense among NYC's trendy, party-central hotels, which includes The Standard. The hotel sparked controversy following its 2009 opening due to reports of exhibitionist guests in the windows.  

Tom McConnell, hotel-sale specialist at Cushman & Wakefield, told the New York Post that the price cut would be "similar to the diminution in values that we've seen around the city." He stated that The Standard was subject to competition within food and beverage. “The Standard is like a big restaurant complex with venues at the top and on the bottom, with hotel rooms sandwiched in between. I’d venture to say that it does more food and beverage income as a percentage of revenue than any other hotel in town,” McConnell said in a statement.

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