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Philadelphia Hotel

Snapped: Tutor Perini Building Corp SVP Joe Perini, who moderated our hotel ownership panel at our recent Philadelphia Hospitality & Casino Summit at The Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia. The panelists kicked things off with the market’s strong fundamentals. RevPAR growth, for instance, has been tremendous in recent years, though it's leveled off some this year. Some luxury properties have been planned for Philly, and boutiques are coming, and limited-service is booming as well. The market’s seeing more of a local feel in its hotels, and some non-brands are doing well in Philadelphia.

Werzack Hotel Group principal Jake Werzack, whose company is one the largest owners and operators of hospitality properties in Philadelphia. Despite solid fundamentals, compared with other major markets, there’s still room for Philadelphia to do better, the speakers said. For instance, occupancies are edging closer to the likes of NY, DC and Boston, but aren’t there yet. ADR isn’t at the same level either, even though it's been increasing steadily in recent years.

Hursha Hospitality Management CEO Naveen Kakarla, whose company operates 110 hotels across the spectrum in greater Philly, with seven in Center City. One challenge in Philadelphia is unmet potential because of low ADR and other metrics, our speakers emphasized. That’s had an impact on investor interest and financing for new property development, since costs tend to be roughly the same here as in higher-ADR markets.

GF Hotels SVP Jeff Kolessar, whose company owns a variety of properties, including the Valley Forge Casino. Philly’s also benefiting from the overall health of the hospitality market. Across the country, the industry is strong now, and there’s demand growth, with positive momentum going into 2015. For a long time, the question was when the industry would come back to peak--and now it has.