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Resorts are major players in SoCal hotel property sales in 2013

Resort properties played a major role in Southern California hotel sales in 2013, and the $365.8 million sale of the 474-room La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad was the state's most expensive.

Atlas Hospitality Group reported Omni Hotels & Resorts acquired La Costa (including its golf courses) as part of a $700 million portfolio sale that also included the Barton Creek Resort in Austin, Tex; the Rancho Las Palmas Resort in Rancho Mirage; the Grove Park Inn in Ashville, N.C.; and the Homestead Resort in Hot Springs Virginia.

The $132.7 million sale of the 796-room La Quinta Resort & Club in Riverside County was another significant resort sale in Southern California last year.

Atlas Hospitality reported that San Diego County added two additional hotel sales in 2013 for a total 31, when compared to 2012.

Other notable hotel sales in San Diego included the $112.5 million sale of the 337-room Embassy Suites at 601 Pacific Highway in downtown San Diego County to a unit of the Pebblebrook Hotel Trust (NYSE: PEB) in January of last year; and the 159-room Andaz Hotel at 630 F. St. in downtown San Diego to a unit of Inland Real Estate Corp. of Oak Brook, Ill. for $53 million in March of last year.

While there were slightly more transactions in San Diego County last year than in 2012, the number of rooms in those transactions declined by 14.72 percent to 3,076 in 2013 -- compared with 3,607 in 2012, according to Atlas.

The average number of rooms per property sold in San Diego County last year was 99, compared with 124 rooms in 2012.

The total year-over-year dollar volume in San Diego County increased by 29.7 percent from $785.01million in 2013, compared with $605.07 million in 2012.

San Diego County's county’s average price per room increased 14.3 percent year-over-year to $171,761, while the median price per room rose 42.8 percent to $100,000 at the end of last year.

Riverside County saw its year-over-year transactions amount to 26 last year, three more than a year earlier -- while hotel sales dollar volume jumped by 430 percent to $343.64 million. As high as that was, it was less than half San Diego County's $785.01 million volume.

Orange County had lower levels of transactions in 2013 (14 from 17) than it had in the prior year and its dollar volume was off by 59.4 percent to $131.49 million year-over-year.

The 225‐room Fullerton Marriott at California State University was the largest hotel to sell in Orange County last year.

The $19 million paid for the 202‐room Radisson Suites Hotel in Buena Park was the most expensive reported sale.

Los Angeles County saw a 9.8 percent increase in the number of hotel sales last year from 51 to 56. The total dollar volume rose 38.9 percent to $865.09 million.

Los Angeles' average sales price per room went up 14.5 to $112,110, but the median price per room fell slightly by 3.1 percent to $66,538.

The 802‐room Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Hotel was the largest county sale, in terms of rooms, at $96 million.

The county's most expensive was the $195 million paid for the 200‐room The London West Hollywood.

Atlas, which tallied a total of 332 sales in the state last year, is projecting the hotel sales picture in California will be at least as strong in 2014.

Along with projecting more than 300 hotel sales, Atlas said the median sales price per room will increase at least 10 percent this year, and financing availability will continue in the 4.5 to 5 percent range for well-performing hotels.

Atlas said the rates could rise above those marks in less desirable properties.

Atlas stated real estate investment trusts (such as Pebblebrook for example), private equity firms and overseas buyers will continue to be active, and added there will be an ongoing influx of capital from China.

For 2014, Atlas also projected the total dollar volume for hotels for this year will reach more than $5 billion.

Assuming capital continues to flow, Atlas said the supply of new hotel rooms will accelerate throughout the state. As last year drew to a close, Atlas' statewide survey found the number hotels in planning or under construction was up by 25 percent last year, with more energy focused on new construction.

San Diego-area projects under construction include a 182-room Hampton Inn & Suites in Mission Valley; the 89-room Holiday Inn Express Hotel Circle in Mission Valley; a 137-room Springhill Suites in Oceanside; and the 78-room Seacoast Autograph Collection, on the site of the former Seacoast Inn, in Imperial Beach.

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