Making the world go round

George Sell Uploaded

Investment has very much dominated the news in the boutique and lifestyle hotel space this week, and although there are several major socio-political factors causing general economic uncertainty, there are encouraging signs that our space is still a very attractive one for long-term investors.

Stateside, 21C Museum Hotels - a really interesting company that we have followed keenly since day one of Boutique Hotel News - has had a major financial shot in the arm from Junius Real Estate Partners, a specialised real estate investment unit of J.P. Morgan Private Bank. The JV partnership will allow the two parties to develop up to $250 million of projects, speeding up 21C's expansion plans dramatically.

Further US funds have been deployed in the shape of Starwood Capital, which has unveiled its long awaited Principal urban lifestyle hotel brand. Starwood Capital has been steadily acquiring choice assets across the UK for the past few years, and is now presenting them as a collection - expect more to follow.

And on a smaller scale, but of no less significance, two of the UK's youngest hoteliers have received a boost in their expansion plans. Brothers Oliver and Dominic Heywood, the founders of Flat Cap Hotels (great name, by the way) are both in their mid-twenties and already have one successful property in Cheshire. They have recently acquired a second project, a former courthouse building, for which they have big plans. The brothers started a crowdfunding campaign to fund this development, but a private individual with a background in hospitality has made a significant investment too. Watch out for Oliver and Dominic - I've a feeling they could go on to become stars in our industry.


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