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Pellerin acquires former Ramada, taps Life House to manage

The former Ramada Plaza by Wyndham Atlanta Downtown & Conference Center is in Atlanta’s Summerhill neighborhood. Photo credit: Life House (Ramada Plaza by Wyndham Atlanta Downtown)

Atlanta-based development firm Pellerin Real Estate has acquired the former Ramada Plaza by Wyndham Atlanta Downtown & Conference Center, a 375-room full-service hotel in Atlanta’s Summerhill neighborhood. 

Pellerin has partnered with Life House through its Life Hospitality independent management arm to stabilize operations and explore redevelopment opportunities as the neighborhood continues to evolve. Together, the partnership seeks to grow its hotel portfolio by at least 1,000 additional rooms by acquiring midscale hotels in Sun Belt states over the next 12 months.

Pellerin’s first hotel project is adjacent to Georgia State Stadium, which was transformed from Turner Field of the Atlanta Braves as part of a $53 million project that wrapped in 2018. The location also will benefit from its proximity to the new $750 million Summerhill Development, an 80-acre mixed-use project led by Carter Developments and Georgia State University that is already underway. Phase I of the Summerhill development will encompass 306 multifamily apartments with 8,575 square feet of ground-level retail, 82,000 square feet of grocery-anchored retail, the redevelopment of 47,000 square feet along Georgia Avenue, a 676-bed student housing project, 100 townhomes and build-to-suit Class A office space. Additionally, Georgia State recently announced a new $85 million, 8,000-seat athletic arena, which will be directly across the street from the hotel and is expected to deliver in 2022.

“The expansive 206,000-square-foot property represents an opportunity for Pellerin to play a fundamental role in the evolution of the Summerhill neighborhood,” said Philippe Pellerin, founder & CEO of Pellerin Real Estate. “Through a community-sensitive approach, we will leverage our team’s deep familiarity with the hotel’s location to deliver a redevelopment that will be massively beneficial to preserving the history of Summerhill.”

With full discretion over its capital and the ability to close sizeable transactions quickly, Pellerin is well-positioned to target distressed assets and special situations where an accelerated due diligence period and closing timeline is required by the seller. Moving forward, Pellerin’s strategy will target existing 100–300 key midscale hotels in locations with attractive pre-COVID-19 dynamics that are available below replacement cost, with priority markets including  Atlanta; Dallas; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Orlando.

“We have been impressed by Life House and their seasoned team, which moved seamlessly in fewer than 20 days to support Pellerin with closing and transitioning day-to-day operations of our first hotel deal,” Pellerin said. “We are excited to expand our partnership with Life House as distressed opportunities continue to arise in our target markets over the coming months.” 

This deal continues a growth trajectory for Life House in the region, which announced earlier this year that it had executed an agreement to manage the historic 131-key hotel in the Southside historic district of Chattanooga, Tenn. While that hotel is presently being operated as an independent property, its local owner is preparing to complete a renovation into a four-star boutique hotel under the rapidly growing Life House brand. 

"We’re excited to partner with Pellerin Real Estate on this regionally focused investment strategy," said Bryan Dunn, head of growth at Life House. “While we initially focused on smaller boutique properties, we have proven our ability to drive similar value creation for owners of large independents and look forward to building out a sizable portfolio with Philippe and his team across the Sun Belt region.”