US Hotels Report Reveals Landscape of Gradual Recovery

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Based in Portland, Oregon, Barclay Grayson guides acquisitions and development with the BPM Real Estate Group. Maintaining extensive industry knowledge, Barclay Grayson follows hospitality trends in Portland and beyond.

Released in July 2021, the CBRE US Hotels State of the Union report reveals a gradual rebound in hotel performance. While the occupancy recovery reached a plateau in early 2021, American hotels have benefitted from international travel restrictions, which routed travelers toward domestic destinations. At the same time, the demographics of visitors to the United States have shifted. As a percentage of travelers, Latin Americans have increased the most from the pre-pandemic status quo. The top five visitors in the first quarter of 2019, by country, were Canada, Mexico, Japan, UK, and China. By early 2020, that had changed to Mexico, Canada, Columbia, India, and the Dominican Republic.

Another finding in the report is that private, nonresidential fixed investment had reached record levels. With labor shortages and cost pressures an issue, limited-service hotels were able to generate operating profits in June 2021 more than 150 percent higher than 2 years earlier. The report predicts that, should consumer confidence continue to rebound, incremental leisure gains will result.

New Portland Luxury Tower Block 216 Moves toward Completion

Based in Portland, Oregon, Barclay Grayson serves as the BPM Real Estate Group’s senior vice president and head of acquisitions and development. A focus for the Company is the downtown Portland development of the 35-story tower Block 216, which encompasses a Ritz Carlton Hotel, Ritz Carlton Residences, offices and retail space.

With the pandemic a backdrop, the high-profile project, revealed in 2019, has not experienced any wavering of support. The need for a local five-star hotel is still an issue in a dynamic market that is expected to recover and expand. The Ritz Carlton Hotel Portland will be Portland’s and the State of Oregon’s first five-star hotel.

As reported by the Portland Business Journal, BPM has found substantial funds toward the Block 216 project through the sale of its Broadway Tower condominium interest for approximately $133 million in 2020. As the head of BPM described it, it made strategic sense to take equity from that property and place it in new project with significant upside potential.

US Business Travel Increases, Still Lags Behind Leisure Travel

Barclay Grayson, an established presence in the Portland, Oregon, real estate community, oversees the BPM Real Estate Group as senior vice president. Integrally involved in a variety of hotel development projects, Barclay Grayson has a strong focus on trends affecting the hospitality sector, as the US moves back toward a new normal of business openings and resumed travel.

The trends for business travel across the first half of 2021 present a slow, but steady increase that still lags leisure travel. As reported by the US Travel Association in a June webinar, domestic leisure travel has already reached 99 percent of its pre-pandemic levels, while business travel is only at 69 percent. Estimates place the latter sector as attaining pre-pandemic levels in 2024, should current trends prevail.

The impact of this uneven recovery is stark: In 2019, domestic leisure travel generated spending of $724 billion, while business travel contributed $270 billion to the economy. In 2020, the numbers had fallen to $555 billion and $88 billion, respectively. One major issue is that only a third of US businesses are engaging in travel of any sort, due to wildly varying restrictions on large gatherings from state to state. Until restrictions are lifted consistently and safely in most markets, professional events and meetings will continue to lag.

The silver lining is that vaccination rates have exceeded expectations. As a result, a reopening of business travel, and corresponding boost in hotel demand, may occur more rapidly than many expect.

BBB Reports a Gradual Uptrend in Travel and Hospitality Sectors

man in white top standing next to table

A longtime Portland, Oregon, executive, Barclay Grayson maintains oversight of development and acquisitions at BPM Real Estate Group. Among the projects Barclay Grayson is shepherding toward completion is Block 216, a downtown Portland luxury high-rise that will include office and residential space, as well as a five-star Ritz-Carlton hotel, and is aiming to open its doors in the post-pandemic era.

The hospitality industry is integrally tied to travel and business trends, and this was highlighted in the 2021 BBB Business Impact Report on travel, leisure, and hospitality. As reported by the Better Business Bureau, significant pent-up demand for domestic travel exists. An Expedia Group survey indicates that 44 percent of travelers plan to extend their vacations longer, or take more trips, than they did the previous year. Another survey by American Express found that 64 percent of respondents would forgo social media for a full month, for the opportunity to travel freely again, as they did before the pandemic.

Speaking with the BBB, the president of MMGY Travel Intelligence predicts a travel boom driven by those who earn $50,000 or more annually. Despite data indicating an increase in this demographics’ travel plans, overall spending on travel will still be down significantly from the pre-pandemic norm. A study by the American Hotel & Lodging Association presents a sobering view, with average hotel occupancy rates of around 50 percent predicted through the end of 2021. The gradual upward trend is positive news for long-term projects such as Block 216, which is expected to open its doors in 2023.

The New Ritz-Carlton and Shared Condo Space

The senior vice president of BPM Real Estate Group in Portland, Oregon, Barclay Grayson is responsible for acquisition and development at the company. In this role, Barclay Grayson plays an integral part in such projects as the new Ritz Carlton building in Portland. This hotel will occupy 11 floors of a 35-story structure that the company is building at Alder Street and Southwest Ninth Avenue.

The new downtown tower brings a level of luxury that is unprecedented for the city. The ultra-high-end structure will cost about $600 million to build, and its planned 138 condos will sell for $1,350 to $1,900 per square foot. Despite a downturn in the condo market in the area, developer Walt Bowen believes in the property and expects that interest in the residences will be bolstered by the presence of the planned Ritz-Carlton hotel, another of his projects.

Rooms at the hotel will cost an average of $450 a night by the time the business has been operating for four years. Compared to other luxury hotels in the city, this amount is close to double the current rates.

The project is evidence of the developers’ belief in the structure, and their belief in Portland.

Ritz-Carlton Luxury Hotel Project Moves Forward in Portland

A resident of Portland, Oregon, Barclay Grayson guides BPM Real Estate Group and oversees a range of real estate endeavors across the western United States. Barclay Grayson has been integrally involved in developing the upcoming Block 216 tower in Portland as the head of acquisition and development.

Block 216’s plans feature a Ritz-Carlton hotel, making it the brand’s first location in Portland. The Ritz-Carlton will occupy 11 floors of the $600 million high-rise, which is under construction on the corner of Southwest 10th Avenue and Southwest Alder Street. In addition to Marriott International-owned Ritz-Carlton guest rooms, the complex will contain high-end condos and offices with extensive downtown views.

Despite market softness due to the COVID-19 pandemic, luxury hotel executives are standing firmly behind the project and feel confident in the long-term viability of Portland as a premier travel destination. BPM Real Estate Group originally announced the endeavor in 2019, prior to the pandemic. Development progress is on track to achieve an expected opening in March 2023.

West-division leadership at CBRE’s hotel valuation practice also expressed optimism and noted that having a few years until completion is an asset because the market will have time to recover substantially. In addition, there is a market niche to fill because there is currently no five-star property in Portland.

Presidents Leadership Academy with Beta Theta Pi

Portland real estate professional Barclay Grayson holds a bachelor of science in management and marketing from the University of Oregon. A member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity in college, Barclay Grayson received the Sorenson Man of the Year Award in recognition of his campus involvement and outstanding achievement.

Founded in 1839 at Miami University in Ohio, Beta Theta Pi has become known for its pioneering entrepreneurial spirit. In addition to hosting several annual conferences and conventions, the fraternity offers the opportunity for chapter and colony presidents to attend a three-day training program at the fraternity’s founding site in Oxford, Ohio. The Chapter Presidents Leadership Academy (CPLA) involves three days of intense personal development, designed to support leaders in strengthening their principles and abilities as well as developing strategies for chapter success.

Endowed by the Miller Nichols Charitable Foundation, the training reviews chapter expectations and facilitates networking among university professionals and fraternity volunteers. In the past, the program has received the Excellence in Educational Programming Award from the Association of Fraternity Advisors and the Most Outstanding Use of a Foundation Grant Award from the North American Interfraternity Conference.

Advantages of LEED Certification for Investors

Since 2003, Barclay Grayson has served as senior vice president of Portland, Oregon-based BPM Real Estate Group. Under Barclay Grayson’s leadership, BPM has completed projects in Portland that hold the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) designation.

Using LEED, the leading green building rating system in the world, developers have a documented, current understanding of green building principles and practices. From planning and design through every aspect of construction, green or sustainable building utilizes environmentally responsible and resource-efficient processes that reduce negative impacts on human health and the environment.

LEED-certified buildings are attractive to tenants, commanding high market rental rates and achieving lease-up rates of up to 20 percent above average. Additionally, vacancy rates for green buildings are approximately 4 percent lower than non-green properties.

From an investor standpoint, LEED provides an internationally recognized framework that includes built-in management practices that can increase asset value and reduce operating costs, in addition to protecting the health and well-being of occupants.

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