Värde, Hawkins Way form $1B JV to acquire value-add and distressed hospitality assets

Värde Partners, a global alternative investment firm, and Hawkins Way Capital, a vertically integrated real estate company, have formed a joint venture to acquire more than $1 billion of value-add and distressed hospitality and housing assets in major U.S. cities. The assets will operate under a Hawkins Way affiliate.

The JV, through an affiliate, recently purchased 569 Lexington Ave. (above) in the heart of Midtown Manhattan from RLJ Lodging Trust. Currently a non-operating 764-key hotel, the 19-story, 349,280-sq.-ft.  building was previously a DoubleTree-branded hotel focused on corporate and business travel. 

“There is a limited supply of affordable lifestyle hospitality and residential products in the center of U.S. gateway cities, against a market of unfulfilled and growing consumer demand,” said Francisco Milone, partner, Värde Partners. “With a structural dislocation in values of select assets in these markets, we believe there is a significant opportunity to acquire properties at attractive prices. We welcome the opportunity to continue our partnership with Hawkins Way and combine our expertise in sourcing, repositioning and managing real estate assets to unlock this opportunity.”

The JV will also be seeded with operating properties in San Francisco and Oakland, CA, and two in Brooklyn, NY.

Ross Walker, managing partner, Hawkins Way Capital, added, “The pandemic has had a profound impact on certain hotel and overlooked housing assets, leaving many in financial difficulty and ultimately unviable in their current form. This has led to a window of opportunity to acquire properties at a discount to intrinsic and potential value, with a view to repositioning the assets for higher, better uses. The partnership with Värde will help support the growth of our platform as we seek to capitalize on what we believe is a large and scalable investment opportunity.”

Lazard acted as exclusive financial advisor to Hawkins Way and the partnership in this transaction.