SHELTON, CT—This year, New Castle Hotels and Resorts will add four new hotels to the market, following up the first half of 2014 with at least one more. The additions, mark a period of “unprecedented growth” for the locally based company expanding its guestroom portfolio by 20%.
“There are opportunities in every cycle, and we spent considerable time during the downturn strategically sourcing deals that would come online as the market regained full steam,” said David Buffam, CEO of the company. “We also have a substantial pipeline of diverse projects that will mature as the year progresses.”
Among the firm’s plans is the reopening of the Algonquin Resort in St. Andrews by-the-Sea, NB, and with it, the Canadian debut of Marriott’s Autograph Collection. New Castle acquired the landmark resort in April of 2012 and is undertaking a $30-million reconstruction that will be completed in the second quarter of this year.
Gerry Chase, New Castle’s president and COO, says, “When the Algonquin became available, we knew that we had the background, the experience and the heart to properly restore and reposition a treasured Canadian landmark.”
Portland’s famed Eastland Park Hotel is also undergoing a total $50-million renovation, and in the second quarter of 2014, will open its doors as the Westin Portland Harborview. New Castle teamed with Rockbridge Capital in this acquisition.
“We’ve developed a sweet spot for acquiring under-managed, under-flagged, undercapitalized assets and restoring them to good health,” says Chase. “Both the Algonquin and the Eastland are perfect examples of independent hotels that will benefit from carefully designed renovations, well-considered flag selection and solid management that respects the hotel’s history.”
New Castle will also build new properties, despite the dearth of new development of lodging assets. It’s working on a combination Residence Inn and Courtyard by Marriott in Syracuse’s Armory Square, and it’s gearing up to break ground on a new Westin in Jekyll Island, GA.
The Inns at Armory Square, to open in May 2013, features a 78-room Residence Inn and a 102-room Courtyard by Marriott under one roof. The project is Downtown Syracuse’s first new build hotel in more than 50 years and the largest, non-office building endeavor in more than 25 years. The hotels are part of the renaissance of the Armory Square section of Downtown Syracuse, an urban lifestyle center of shops, restaurants and theaters a short distance from the University.
The 200-room oceanfront Westin Jekyll Island Hotel will break ground later in the first quarter and will become the anchor hotel for Jekyll Island’s new convention center, which was completed last May 2012. It’s believed that the convention center will host about 120 events per year, helping to revitalize the Island as a leisure and conference destination. The property is one of only a handful of convention center hotels currently in the works.
“There always are plenty of takers for big, high profile deals in obvious markets,” Chase says . “Experience has shown us, however, that a carefully selected, challenging deal in an unexpected market can be just as rewarding.”