Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Business

The Loews Don CeSar Hotel sold to Host Hotels & Resorts

RECOMMENDED READING


The Pink Palace on St. Pete Beach has a new owner.

The Loews Don CeSar Hotel was purchased by Host Hotels & Resorts and will be managed by Davidson Hotels & Resorts, according to a Loews spokeswoman.

Prudential Insurance has been the majority owner of the historic 277-room hotel on St. Pete Beach for more than 12 years, and Loews Hotels managed the property and owned a 20 percent stake.

A Loews Hotels spokeswoman said that local hotel staff found out about the sale Tuesday. Employees at the hotel confirmed the change in management and said that some staff will be interviewing to keep their jobs this week. Both Host Hotels and Davidson Hotels declined to respond to questions Wednesday, including discussing the sales price and whether any major changes are planned at the complex.

Stephen Cummings, general manager of the Don CeSar, also declined to comment about the sale.

Officials in the local hotel industry at the end of 2016 heard rumblings that the Loews Don CeSar Hotel was being shopped around. No records of a sale were available in Pinellas County as of late Wednesday.

Read more: Loews Don CeSar named Best Historic Hotel in America

Host Hotels & Resorts is a Fortune 500 company and one of the largest lodging real estate investment firms and owners of luxury and upscale hotels in the country. Host owns 89 properties in the United States, including the YVE Hotel in Miami, Orlando World Center Marriott and the Ritz-Carlton resorts in Amelia Isand and Naples. Host also owns seven international hotels, with a total portfolio reaching 54,000 hotel rooms.

Davidson Hotels & Resorts manages 43 hotels totalling nearly 13,000 rooms and 1.4 million square feet of meeting space across the U.S. The company manages the Hilton Key Largo Resort and Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables in Florida.

The Loews Don CeSar will be the first Tampa Bay area hotel opportunity for both hotelier companies.

It's fairly common for hotel properties to change hands every few years, said Kent Schwarz, executive vice president of Colliers International Hotels.

Loews Hotels and Prudential Insurance acquired the hotel in 2003.

"Prudential typically holds an asset for a good length of time, but it's not uncommon for a hotel to be marketed a year, year and a half into ownership," he said.

The Pink Palace, which has been an icon on St. Pete Beach for decades, was built in 1928. The hotel was recognized in 2015 for its history and restoration with the "Best Historic Hotel" award in its size category by the Historic Hotels of America organization. "The Don" has taken many forms over the years. In the 1940s it served as a hospital for the U.S. Army throughout the duration of World War II. Not long after, the building was turned into a regional office for the Veteran's Administration.

The hotel spent $10 million to upgrade amenities in the hotel last year, which included building a brand new restaurant and bar area that faces the Gulf. It also renovated the The Beach House Suites, a 70-room hotel less than a mile north on St. Pete Beach. The hotel, formerly named the Wander Club Residence, was bought by the Don CeSar and renamed in 1997.

Read more: Loews Don CeSar investing $10 million in renovations to St. Pete Beach properties

"It's rare for hotel companies like Marriott or Loews to own the properties these days. They got beat up pretty badly during the downturn and have to be more profitable. If they don't own the hotels, there's less risk," Schwarz said.

Contact Justine Griffin at jgriffin@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8467. Follow @SunBizGriffin.

Comments
Ybor ’s first public school, long gone, still has a story to tell about district’s history

Ybor ’s first public school, long gone, still has a story to tell about district’s history

TAMPAIt’s been more than a century since Ybor City’s first public school was demolished on the plot of land now identified as 1311 E Eighth Ave.For the past 22 years, the popular concert venue New World Brewery took up the space and one next door. No...
Updated: 8 minutes ago
Barricades reinforce security for holiday events on St. Petersburg’s downtown waterfront

Barricades reinforce security for holiday events on St. Petersburg’s downtown waterfront

ST. PETERSBURG — World and national tragedies are changing the city’s approach to security for special events at North Straub Park.With the approach of the holidays, concrete barricades have been erected at a section of the park’s perimeter, where Fo...
Updated: 29 minutes ago
A new threat this shopping season: toys that can spy on kids

A new threat this shopping season: toys that can spy on kids

ST. PETERSBURG — Not all sinister toys are as obvious as a Chucky doll. Many present more subtle threats — choking hazards, high lead content, privacy concerns. And as the biggest shopping season of the year kicks off, consumer advocates are urging s...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Indian automaker plant is latest sign of Detroit comeback

Indian automaker plant is latest sign of Detroit comeback

It has been years since Detroit, birthplace of the American auto industry, was a steady producer of the manufacturing jobs that defined it as the Motor City. But its comeback is entering a new phase.The latest milestone came this week, with the annou...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Big Tobacco’s anti-smoking ads begin after decade of delay

Big Tobacco’s anti-smoking ads begin after decade of delay

Associated PressWASHINGTON — Decades after they were banned from the airwaves, Big Tobacco companies return to prime-time television this weekend — but not by choice. Under court order, the industry for the first time will be forced to advertise the ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Copa Airlines to fly daily nonstop from Tampa to Panama next summer

Copa Airlines to fly daily nonstop from Tampa to Panama next summer

TAMPA — Panama’s Copa Airlines, which four years ago became the first airline to offer service between Panama and Tampa Bay, said it is increasing its nonstop service between Tampa International Airport and Panama City to daily flights starting in Ju...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Irma did not stop tourists from setting record visits to Florida so far in 2017

Irma did not stop tourists from setting record visits to Florida so far in 2017

Despite Hurricane Irma, Florida hit another record high number in tourists visiting the state in the first nine months of this year, according to figures released this week.Visit Florida, the state’s tourism bureau, said 88.2 million visitors came to...
Updated: 7 hours ago
FCC chairman unveils proposal to repeal net neutrality

FCC chairman unveils proposal to repeal net neutrality

WASHINGTON — Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai on Tuesday followed through on his pledge to repeal 2015 regulations designed to ensure that internet service providers treat all online content and apps equally, setting up a showdown ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Crime Stoppers, Straz Foundation still working out Seminole Heights reward money

Crime Stoppers, Straz Foundation still working out Seminole Heights reward money

TAMPA — You can collect $110,000 in reward money for information leading to an arrest in the Seminole Heights killings, but for now you’ll have to make two stops.The David A. Straz Foundation announced Monday it would contribute $10,000 to a reward f...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Hurricane Irma hurt some Tampa Bay home sales even in October

Hurricane Irma hurt some Tampa Bay home sales even in October

Pinellas County home sales took another hurricane-related hit in October as the rest of the Tampa Bay area bounced back from Hurricane Irma.But while prices in all four counties rose once again, the rate of increase continues to slow. Hillsborough’s...
Updated: 6 hours ago