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(Carl Cronan is editor of Real EstateFlorida.)

JACKSONVILLE, FL-Premier Capital Associates LLC has arranged a $9.2-million refinancing of a Hilton Garden Inn for Akhil Hospitality LLC. The 99-room hotel was built less than a year ago near Jacksonville Naval Air Station.

“The current financing market remains quite volatile but deals are still getting done,” says Greg Morris, managing director of Premier Capital, based in Bellevue, WA. “Hotel lenders have increased spreads, are more cautious in underwriting and are rethinking their overall approach to hotel lending.”

Jeff McKee, also managing director with Morris at Premier Capital, notes that the company was able to secure the loan through a regional bank seeking to work with emerging hoteliers such as Akhil Hospitality. He says the lending environment for hotels has changed from past years, when conduits such as commercial mortgage-backed securities were more widely used.

“In the past, this loan likely would have been placed in a CMBS structure,” McKee says. “However, those sources have essentially stepped to the sidelines.”

Samir Patel, president of Akhil Hospitality, credits Premier Capital with being willing and able to handle the refi on a fairly new hotel property within a difficult lending environment. He says the company has the knowledge and expertise to work through several deal points that most borrowers, likely, wouldn’t have known about.

“They clearly outlined the advantages of the brand and location, as well as our excellent startup,” Patel stated in a release. “They were able to balance the upfront fees against the interest rate to achieve the best overall rate. Without this expertise, the transaction would have been much more costly to us.”

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