Real Estate

Single Family Office Highlights Hotel Ownership Trend

Tom Burroughes, Group Editor, August 6, 2021

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A number of single-family offices own hotels around the world. While hit by the pandemic's squeeze on business and leisure travel, hotels offer forms of revenue and capital growth - often in prime locations - that fit the "patient capital" mindset SFOs are said to have.

Beemok Capital, the family office of South Carolina businessman and philanthropist Benjamin Navarro, has agreed to buy a 433-room hotel and conference building in downtown Charleston, SC, from luxury hotel and travel firm Belmond.

Financial terms of the transaction weren’t disclosed by Beemok Capital in its statement yesterday. The deal is expected to close later in 2021.

Beemok Capital plans to make “substantial investments” in the hotel to maintain its “iconic” position within the community, the SFO said. Beemok Capital already owns a number of hotels in the US.

The transaction is an example of how family offices, proponents of “patient capital,” hold assets such as hotels to generate returns over the long term. In the past two years, of course, the hotel industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has a particular toll on hotels offering business travel facilities. 

A number of family offices hold hotels as investments, such as Wenaas Group (based in Norway); RB Investments (Harsh Bothra Family Office in Singapore); Lamont Companies (Lamont Single Family Office, South Dakota, US); MID (Europe), and Elysium Management (Black Family Office, New York), according to FINTRX, a US organization that tracks family offices’ investments. (Another group, with which this news service has an exclusive partnership, is Highworth Research. It has chronicled developments in family offices' investments, such as here.)

“This represents a full circle moment for our family. When my wife, Kelly, and I attended the Grand Opening of Charleston Place (f/k/a The Omni) over 35 years ago, we were so taken with the charm of the city and excited to be a part of that momentous occasion in its history. The opening of Charleston Place transformed the city into a premier destination for visitors from around the world and inspired revival and growth in the entire community,” Navarro said. 

The Charleston Place investment will be the flagship asset of Beemok Hospitality, a newly-created vertical of Beemok Capital, the single-family office said.

“Beemok Hospitality will seek out premier hotel, restaurant and entertainment assets that showcase Charleston and the Southeast as a destination for the world,” it said.

Beemok Hospitality’s other assets include an investment in Hotel Domestique, a luxury hotel along the base of the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains, and control of the Credit One Bank Stadium and LTP Tennis Center in Charleston, a tennis and entertainment facility and host of the WTA 500 Credit One Cup (formerly, the Volvo Car Open).

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