In a dynamic industry, your legal team must coordinate an interdisciplinary approach. That’s how we represent clients operating, investing, or financing in the hospitality industry. We bring complete advisory solutions to you.
The hospitality lawyers at Alston & Bird have a long history representing hospitality clients. We have vast experience that guides hotels and resorts, restaurants, theme parks, golf courses, and casinos. In our backyard, across the country, and around the world, we have a team that can help.
Our team represents corporations, private equity, REITs, family offices, investment firms, and institutional lenders in the acquisition, sale, development, management, and financing of hotel and other hospitality projects. Our engagements include significant hospitality components of mixed-use projects, multistate portfolio transactions, hotel and resort restructurings, and capital-raising and investment transactions.
Our advice is comprehensive and embraces the entire project life cycle, from conception, development, and operation to disposition. Our lawyers provide real estate analysis, guide construction documentation and construction risk management advice, handle construction disputes, engage in tax planning, resolve environmental issues, counsel on project entitlements, and deal with relevant labor and employment matters. We couple all these areas of substantive capability with recognized credentials in information technology, data privacy and security, software licensing, trademarks, and other operations matters to provide our hospitality and hotel clients with the full range of legal services they require to compete and thrive.
- Represented InterContinental Hotels Group nationally in its acquisition of sites and development of its Staybridge Suites brand hotels.
- Handled the legal matters for a developer’s development and construction of the San Antonio Hyatt Hotel. This included the negotiation of a ground lease of air rights over a tributary of the San Antonio River leading to the Alamo.
- Representing one of the country’s largest hotel REITs in negotiating shared amenity agreements and other development issues in its existing hotel property portfolio.
- Counsel to the developer of the multiphased 12th & Midtown master mixed-use development in Midtown Atlanta, totaling almost $1 billion in deal value, including a 414-room Loews-branded hotel.
- Representing a U.S.-based, multinational hospitality company in the development and sale of first-class mixed-use developments that include hotel components.
Purchases and Sales of Hotel Properties
- Represented the buyer of High Hampton Inn & Country Club, a historic mountain inn, country club, golf resort, and surrounding 1,400 acres in Cashiers, NC.
- Represented InterContinental Hotels Group and its predecessor entities in the purchase and sale of numerous hotels throughout the U.S. and Caribbean.
- Represented W.B. Johnson when he acquired the original Ritz-Carlton in Boston. This transaction also involved the acquisition of the name Ritz-Carlton, which Mr. Johnson has used throughout the world.
- Represented a major insurance company in the acquisition and development of the Ritz-Carlton in the Buckhead area of Atlanta, and in the subsequent sale of the investment.
- Represented a major insurance company in the legal severance of the Colony Square hotel from the remainder of this mixed-use project in Midtown Atlanta and in the sale of the hotel.
- Represented Extended Stay America in various sales across the U.S., including a portfolio sale of 53 hotels in 22 states.
- On behalf of a group of individual investors, handled the acquisition, financing, and sale of a series of hotel properties throughout the Southeast, including a number of resort development investments.
- Counsel to a national life insurance company in its acquisition of Reynolds Plantation, a master-planned residential resort community that includes a luxury hotel, multiple golf courses and marinas, 250 residential lots, and 4,925 acres of undeveloped land.
Management and Operating Agreements
- Represented InterContinental Hotels Group in the consolidation and amendment of the long-term management agreements for four hotel portfolios owned by Hospitality Properties Trust into one master agreement covering 120 hotel properties.
- Drafted and negotiated the management/operating agreement for an owner of a Georgia coastal hotel. Drafted an operating agreement more favorable to the owner’s investment interests because the operator was not a national chain and did not have its own operating agreement.
- Represented a foreign boutique hotel in the review and redrafting of its existing hotel management agreement in order to address critical issues in U.S. agency and ownership laws.
- In connection with the restructuring of the financing for a 24-hotel portfolio located in 11 states for one of the largest lodging companies in the world, managed the renegotiation of the master management agreement for the portfolio.
- Represented the owner/developer of a mixed-use development in negotiating the operating agreement and technical services agreement with a national four-star branding and management company for a hotel and branded residential condominium project.
- Represented a foreclosing lender in the analysis, restructuring, and renegotiation of complicated, manager-biased operating and management agreements in order to secure a more appropriate return to the property owner.
- In connection with other foreclosures and workouts, negotiated and implemented interim management/operating agreements with existing hotel operators in order to protect the lender/owners’ interests during the transition of ownership.
- Represented the lead bank in the restructuring and ultimate disposition of the iconic Sea Island Resort.
- Represented a national investment bank in the origination of a $365 million mortgage loan to a national hotel REIT secured by five hotel properties in Washington, Florida, California, Pennsylvania, and Texas. The loan included a subground leasehold financing for one property, which included negotiating a ground lease estoppel and a subground lease estoppel, and the negotiation of the collateral assignment and subordination of a tax increment financing loan structure from one of the hotel owners and a local municipality. The loan was included in a single-asset securitization.
- Represented a national bank in the origination of a $68 million CMBS loan secured by a hotel, conference center, and underground parking facility in Raleigh, NC. The project included a ground lease, two layers of leasehold condominiums (a master condominium and sub-condominium of one of the master condominium units), and a further ground lease of one of the sub-condominium units.
- Represented a real estate investment management company as the special servicer of a CMBS trust in the workout of a defaulted mortgage loan on a hotel property in New York City. The workout was particularly complex because a subordinate mezzanine loan secured by equity in the property was also in default.
- Represented the lender in the origination of a $180 million loan secured by the landlord’s interest in a hotel property in Denver leased to a tenant pursuant to an NNN ground lease. Given the novel nature of a CMBS financing secured by a leased-fee interest, our representation also included a complex negotiation of the ground lease as well as negotiation of various agreements with the hotel operator.
Ownership and Entity Transactions
- Represented the owner/branded manager of a four-star hotel in the sale of a majority interest in the ownership LLC and negotiated new joint venture, management, and sale documents to effect the transfer.
- Represented a major insurance company in the restructuring of its joint venture agreement relating to a major hotel in the Buckhead area of Atlanta.
- Represented InterContinental Hotels Group in the restructuring of numerous joint ventures and partnerships and in the redemption of the interests of partners and institutional investors
- Represented the seller of the hotel components of three mixed-use projects in the Southeast in a steps transaction structured to avoid adverse tax consequences.
- Served as counsel to a $310 million hospitality fund of institutional investors that include state and local pension plans and university endowments.
- Served as counsel to a hotel REIT in an initial public offering of $1.1 billion and follow-on public offering of $1 billion.
- Served as counsel to a hotel REIT in an ongoing initial public offering of $1.1 billion.
- Served as counsel to a hotel REIT in a $450 million merger.
- Provided counsel to The Related Companies on the Grand Avenue Project, a $1.8 billion mixed-use development in the civic and cultural center of downtown Los Angeles, with a new civic park, significant streetscape improvements along Grand Avenue, and 2,060 residential units, 225 hotel rooms, up to 479,500 square feet of retail space, and up to 600,000 square feet of commercial office space. Secured entitlements and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) compliance for the project.
- Advised Rottman-Froman Communities on Oak Canyon Ranch, a master-planned retirement/ destination community in Calaveras County, California, consisting of 2,275 homes, golf courses, and resort facilities on 3,000 acres. Assisted our client in obtaining land use entitlements and permits and CEQA/NEPA clearance from the county, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Army Corps of Engineers. Also advised our client on environmental compliance and litigation, debt and equity financing, various real estate transactions, land exchange for a major county thoroughfare, and endangered species/wetlands.
- Provided counsel to Pacific Theaters Corp./Robertson Properties Group on the development of various retail and entertainment centers throughout Southern California, including centers in Los Angeles, Anaheim, Ventura, Thousand Oaks, and Huntington Park. Representation of these affiliated companies included work that has encompassed the successful redevelopment of the historic Cinerama Dome Theater at Sunset Boulevard and Vine Street, which involved historic preservation and redevelopment issues.
- Represented the Autry National Center in securing CEQA clearance and other land use entitlements for new gallery space in the City of Burbank as part of our client’s plan to supplement its well-known museum in Griffith Park in Los Angeles. We also secured an important appellate court decision for the Autry that allows the Autry to exhibit a greater number of pieces from its American Indian Collection at its Griffith Park Museum in the City of Los Angeles. Overcoming opposition from a local neighborhood group, our team persuaded the court of appeal that review was not required for the Autry’s project under CEQA.
- Advised AREA Property Partners on the redevelopment of two city blocks on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood by an international real estate fund manager, with hotel, residential towers, and street-front retail and restaurants. Provided land use and environmental counsel for the client’s Sunset Millennium project, as well as other projects throughout Southern California, including the City of Oxnard.
- Provided counsel to Centrum Properties Inc. / 8801 Sunset Boulevard on the redevelopment of the former Tower Records site on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood by a national real estate developer, including retail and office uses, a health facility, and signage rights.