Make us your home page
Instagram

The Loews Don CeSar Hotel sold to Host Hotels & Resorts

[SCOTT KEELER, Times]

The Loews Don Cesar Hotel in St. Pete Beach has been sold.

[SCOTT KEELER, Times]

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.

The Loews Don CeSar Hotel sold to Host Hotels & Resorts 01/05/17 [Last modified: Thursday, January 5, 2017 10:47am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Make-A-Wish Foundation aims to help more kids in Tampa Bay

    Health

    The Make-A-Wish Foundation is on the lookout for sick children in the Tampa Bay area who need a once-in-a-lifetime pick-me-up.

    Grace Savage, a 10-year-old girl with a chromosomal disorder made a trek to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium last year, courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The foundation intends to beef up its presence in the Tampa Bay area after a reorganization. The region is now the responsibility of the foundation's Southern Florida chapter, one of the most active in the country, with more than 11,000 wishes granted so far. [JIM DAMASKE   |   Times ]
  2. Florida hides details in nursing home reports. Federal agencies don't.

    Medicine

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott widened his offensive Thursday against the Broward nursing home he blames for the deaths of 10 residents by setting up a tip line for information, but when it comes to access to the inspection reports of all nursing homes, the governor's administration has heavily censored what the …

    In the foreground is a document detailing the findings of a Feb. 2016 inspection at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills obtained from a federal agency, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Behind it is the state?€™s version of the same document, from the Agency for Health Care Administration, showing how it has been redacted before being released to the public. [Miami Herald]
  3. 'Toxic' times: How repeal of Florida's tax on services reverberates, 30 years later

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Long before Hurricane Irma attacked Florida, the state faced a troubled fiscal future that the storm will only make worse.

    Robertson says the tax debate is now “toxic.”
  4. Fewer Tampa Bay homeowners are underwater on their mortgages

    Real Estate

    The percentage of Tampa Bay homeowners underwater on their mortgages continues to drop. In the second quarter of this year, 10.2 percent of borrowers had negative equity compared to nearly 15 percent in the same period a year ago, CoreLogic reported Thursday. Nationally, 5.4 percent of all mortgaged homes were …

    The percentage of Tampa Bay homeowners underwater on their mortgages  continues to drop. [Times file photo]
  5. 'What Happened'? Clinton memoir sold 300,000 copies in first week

    Blogs

    Despite being met with decidedly mixed reviews, What Happened, Hillary Clinton's new memoir about the 2016 presidential campaign, sold a whopping 300,000 copies in its first week.

    The new memoir by former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton sold 300,000 copies in its first week.