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LW Hospitality Advisors' Dan Lesser, Walter Peseski, and Evan Weiss
Hospitality has been the sector most ripe for a rapid bounce-back— and judging from the influx of work Dan Lesser has seen since launching LW Hospitality Advisors (LWHA) with partner Evan Weiss last month (pictured: Dan, Evan, and Walter Peseski, standing), we’re already seeing the signs. His assignments have included a highest-and-best use study for a prominent Manhattan building that has long been contemplated for redevelopment, a feasibility study for a proposed new ground-up hotel in Manhattan, appraisals for active hotel lenders on potential acquisition financing, and expert witness and litigation support for a bankrupt hotel entity and a lodging property tax dispute. LWHA also formed a strategic alliance with DC-based Humboldt Hospitality to provide third-party hotel asset management services.
LW Hospitality Advisors' Walter Peseski, Dan Lesser, and Evan Weiss
We snapped this nostalgic shot of Walter, Dan, and Evan outside the soon-to-be-no-more Hotel Pennsylvania. Dan, who has three decades of experience founding and developing platforms at HVS International, Cushman & Wakefield, and CBRE, launched LWHA to catch the impending wave of hotel deal activity, he says. Expect major sales—like Host Hotels & Resorts’ recent $314M purchase of the New York Helmsley Hotel and DiamondRock Hospitality’s acquisition of a to-be-developed Times Square hotel—as large institutional players start spending money earmarked for the sector. There will also be a tremendous amount of legacy deals as lenders start pulling the trigger on problem assets. He’s already hired four professionals and an intern to help with the work—and hopefully he gets to catch a little bit of his own leisure before the market goes gangbusters, as he heads to Martha’s Vineyard for spring break.
W Union Square
And JLL Hotels is also predicting a surge, according to a report released yesterday. NYC is the most active hotel investment market in the country, exceeding $1B in ’10 alone—and transaction volume is expected to range from $1.9B to $2.4B this year, as much as a 130% growth year-over-year. (The largest transactions were Rockpoint Group and Highgate Holdings’ $230M purchase of the Milford Plaza; Host’s $185M purchase of the W Union Square, pictured; andHersha Hospitality Trust’s $165M, three-hotel Times Square portfolio purchase.) New York also recorded the greatest RevPAR turnaround of any market in ’10, with upscale and luxury hotels expected to achieve RevPAR growth of 10% to 12% over last year.