Lockwood Development Partners Aiming To Snag Anbang Hotel Portfolio
Who is going to get Anbang's 15-hotel portfolio? The lead suitor for the properties seems to be a group led by New York-based Lockwood Development Partners, which owns and develops hotel properties.
"We're first at the table," Lockwood Manager Charles Everhardt, who is head of acquisitions and development for the company, told Bisnow. "This isn't a typical transaction, because we aren't buying from a typical seller. Anbang was taken over by the Chinese government, which changes the complexion of the deal."
To help facilitate the deal, Lockwood hired China-based LehmanBush, among other firms. The investment and project management consulting firm was co-founded by Neil Bush, brother of former President George W. Bush.
"Through that relationship, we've been able to navigate the process," Everhardt said. "We're the lead bidder. We are now finalizing our offers to the government, which we're hopeful they will accept in the very near future."
Franchisees of various hotel brands, including Hilton, Marriott, InterContinental and Four Seasons, are also part of the bidding group.
Anbang currently owns 18 hotels in the United States, and wants to sell most of them, including Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton and InterContinental flagged properties.
The company's best-known property is the Waldorf Astoria in New York, though that property isn't among the 15 Anbang wants to sell. Even so, the portfolio will include some of the top hotels in the country, such as the InterContinental Chicago and InterContinental Miami and probably the Essex House in Manhattan.
"These are some of the most iconic hotels in the world," Everhardt said. "These are the cream of the crop, and it hasn't been too hard to get interested investors when you have the cream of the crop."
Anbang has gone in a short time from being a major hotel buyer in the U.S. to the verge of being a major seller. The Chinese government seized the company after its chairman was charged and convicted of corruption, and it has been selling assets in China lately. If the hotel portfolio deal goes through, that will be Anbang's first major sale in the U.S.
Lockwood currently owns hotels in Alabama and is developing Miami Cosmopolitan in Miami and a hotel site near Midway International Airport in Chicago.