IFA Hotels closes $315 million Yotel New York deal

8th Jun 2011
IFA Hotels closes $315 million Yotel New York deal

Fast-growing international developer IFA Hotels & Resorts has scored another major coup with news that it has closed a financing and acquisition deal valued at US$315 million for its YOTEL New York property.

IFA Hotel Investments oversees the investment in the Yotel brand, and the consortium comprises IFA HR, Kuwait Real Estate Company and United Investments Portugal.

Talal Jassim Al-Bahar, Vice Chairman and CEO, IFA HR said: “This is the second funding transaction we have closed in the last six months. Securing these deals - both with foreign lenders - goes to show that despite tough market conditions, the right project in the right location with the right sponsor will attract the necessary capital.”

The financing for YOTEL, worth US$240 million, was led by Atrium Holding Company, a private investment vehicle based in the United States, with co-funding by Centerbridge Partners, L.P., an investment firm. The acquisition of the property from Related Company, the overall project developer, happened simultaneously with the financing - bringing the total value of the transaction to US$315 million.

(A mixture of luxury, fun and excitement, just two blocks west of Times Square. YOTEL features New York’s largest outdoor terrace, bars, restaurant, studio and gym)

The deal marks the latest major contract linking GCC-based investors to the Big Apple with Fosterlane Management Company, an arm of the Kuwait Investment Authority, purchasing the former Morgan Stanley headquarters just last month.

“We are pleased with our investment in YOTEL. This comes as a part of KREC’s strategy to expand its investments geographically while focusing on income-generating real estate to ensure maximum profit for both the company and its shareholders” said Ibrahim Saleh Al-Therban, Vice Chairman & Managing Director of Kuwait Real Estate Company.

(Airport style check in and out, auto and assisted by the YOTEL crew 24/7)

The 669-room YOTEL welcomed its first guests on June 3 and is the largest hotel opening in the city this year. Part of Related Company’s 1.2 million square foot, 60-storey LEED-Silver complex, YOTEL has the benefit of an enviable address at West 42nd Street and 10th Avenue in Times Square.

For IFA HR, the opening of YOTEL New York marks a major milestone in its investment in the brand. As the first site outside of an airport and the largest YOTEL by far, its design will act as a blueprint for future city centre locations.

(YOTEL New York - the brand’s first city centre location)

Joe Sita, President of IFA Hotel Investments, which is the appointed Asset Manager of the YOTEL NYC property, added: “We believe that YOTEL New York represents the future of the hotel industry and we have found experienced, flexible and creative hotel investors who see the same potential for its tremendous success that we do. Everything about this hotel, from its LEED-certified engineering and ergonomic workstations to the way luggage stores perfectly under the bed has been painstakingly designed with our guests’ convenience and comfort in mind. It is the pinnacle of affordable luxury.”

(Mission control - the YOTEL version of a concierge desk for a one stop shop service, shop and snacks)

Guests arriving at YOTEL New York will check-in at airline style kiosks and find everything a luxury hotel can offer ingeniously designed in less than 200 sq ft. Premium cabins are equipped with a space-saving motorised moving bed; monsoon shower; Technowall with TV, music and power services; a workstation and free super-strength Wi-Fi. Adding to the luxury, YOTEL’S 18 First Class Cabins and 3 VIP 2-Cabin Suites offer private outdoor terraces and hot tubs. All guests enjoy a complimentary breakfast during their stay and access to New York’s largest outdoor hotel space.

(Yobot - the world’s most radical approach to storing left luggage)

Al-Bahar concluded: “From a financial perspective, we anticipate significant returns on our investment in YOTEL New York. From an industry perspective, we hope this transaction serves to further boost banks’ and investors’ confidence that there are still strategic opportunities available in the hospitality market - YOTEL is certainly one of them.”

Yotel New York joins hotels at London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports, and Amsterdam’s Schiphol. But this opening marks its first city centre location.

Yotel was originally conceived by founder of YO! Sushi and former Dragons Den judge Simon Woodroffe and realised by YOTEL CEO Gerard Greene.

He said: “I was lucky enough to be upgraded to First class on British Airways. I went to sleep with the conundrum of how to create a flexible and convenient hotel experience at an affordable price. I expect YOTEL to be in the world’s top ten hotel brands in the next ten years. YOTEL totally fulfills the holy grail of retailing, a top end product at a below expectation cost.”

(Wessel Witthuhn, President of IFA, Zimbali Lodge & Country Club, voted “Africa’s Leading Sports Resort” by World Travel Awards)

IFA Hotels & Resorts also owns shareholding some of the world’s finest luxury hospitality brands. These include Legend Golf & Safari Resort, voted “Africa’s Leading Sports Resort 2010” and “South Africa’s Leading Golf Resort” by World Travel Awards. The Kuwait based group also owns shares in Zimbali voted “Africa’s Leading Tourism Development Project” by World Travel Awards.

(Peet Cilliers, CEO, Legend Lodges, picks up top honours at World Travel Awards. Pictured with Graham Cooke, President & Founder, World Travel Awards, and Miss South Africa)

Also in the United States today, City.Mobi is celebrating the success of its new guide to the Big Apple. 

NYC.Mobi is the latest in this illustrious line up, offering click to call functionality – which means no scribbling down telephone numbers.

City.Mobi offers the most comprehensive mobile travel guides available, with over 800 cities in 200 countries listed. Each is developed by the City.Mobi team to combine into a single global travel directory.

However, each city retains its own mobile identity via a dedicated domain. Already on offer are Brussels.Mobi, Paris.Mobi, Sanfrancisco.Mobi and Sydney.Mobi.

Most entries are also linked to websites where users can quickly access more detailed information if needed.

Other key features include information on accommodation, restaurants, attractions, entertainment, nightlife, shopping, and transport.

City.Mobi guides include user reviews and traveller utilities such as a translation guide, currency converter, news and local weather guide.

To find out more about YOTEL New York visit www.yotel.com


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