A joint venture between Lowe and an institutional investor has acquired three hospitality assets from The Howard Hughes Corporation located in The Woodlands, a 28,500-acre master-planned community in the greater Houston area. The Woodlands Resort; The Westin at The Woodlands; and Embassy Suites by Hilton, The Woodlands at Hughes Landing were purchased for $252 million and will continue to be managed by Lowe’s hospitality management subsidiary, CoralTree Hospitality, which took over management of the properties in September 2020. Lowe will immediately begin a $25 million capital investment program at the three hotels, totaling 909 rooms.
“The Woodlands hotel portfolio acquisition is consistent with our broader hospitality investment strategy that targets quality, full-service hotels and resorts that draw significant leisure travel, but also cater to corporate and group business,” said Mike Lowe, co-CEO, Lowe. “Located in a high-growth Houston submarket with strong demand and compelling demographics, the hotels and resort draw from multiple demand segments attracted by the appealing location, lakes, outdoor recreation and considerable amenities within The Woodlands. Business has grown steadily over the past five years and the hotels have weathered the downturn and are rebounding strongly.”
With this sale, Howard Hughes has successfully closed on approximately $376 million of the targeted $600 million net proceeds in the sale of non-core assets outlined two years ago. “The sale of our hotel assets in The Woodlands further advances the disposition of non-core assets as outlined in our 2019 strategic initiative,” said David R. O’Reilly, CEO, The Howard Hughes Corporation. “Lowe is recognized for its leading quality service within the hospitality industry, and we are pleased to have found a buyer who shares our commitment to providing visitors to The Woodlands with a best-in-class customer experience.”
The Woodlands Resort
Built in 1974, The Woodlands Resort is the original hotel in The Woodlands community. The property has 402 rooms, as well as the Forest Oasis waterpark with a 1,005-ft. Lazy River and 30-ft. waterslide and 90,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. Lowe and its partner intend to make a significant capital investment to redevelop and add new facilities. A key planned improvement is the top-to-bottom redevelopment of the existing 10,000-sq.-ft. spa, which will include the repositioning of the spa pool with renovated indoor and outdoor spaces. In addition, the fitness facility will be expanded and modernized. The resort will also undergo a transformation of the dining and bar options, including a waterside lobby bar and the addition of a gourmet grab-and-go market and general store, complementing the recently completed repositioning and redesign of Back Table Kitchen + Bar.
The Westin at The Woodlands
The 302-room Westin at The Woodlands, built in 2016, includes a 24-hour fitness facility; a rooftop infinity pool, cabanas and firepit; in-room massage; more than 28,000 sq. ft. of meeting and event space; and three F&B outlets. Lowe and its partner will invest in several property upgrades including the guestrooms; the meeting and conference space; and public areas.
Embassy Suites by Hilton, The Woodlands at Hughes Landing
The 205-room Embassy Suites by Hilton, The Woodlands at Hughes Landing, built in 2015, offers a business center, fitness facility, rooftop pool with views of Lake Woodlands and 3,500 sq. ft. of group and event space. Lowe plans to refresh guestrooms and upgrade some building systems. Located in Hughes Landing—a 79-acre upscale mixed-used development within The Woodlands community on the shore of Lake Woodlands—the hotel offers the Embassy Suites signature complimentary evening reception and made-to-order breakfast.
The Lowe venture was represented by Greenberg Traurig, while K&L Gates provided legal counsel to The Howard Hughes Corporation. CBRE and JLL represented the seller in the transaction.