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Situated in three adjacent warehouses that date back to the mid 1800’s, the 165 room Ambassador Hotel is located steps from the trendy Warehouse Arts District, the central business district, as well as within easy walking distance of the French Quarter and the New Orleans Morial Convention Center. The asset, a joint acquisition with Provenance Hotels, is undergoing re-positioning and renovation and is slated to open in 2014 under Provenance’s management. The makeover process will honor the building’s historic structures and will transform this property into a three-star lifestyle hotel with a popular food and beverage venue.

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Architect: Gerner, Kronick + Valcarcel, Architects
Hotel Interior Designer: Martin Brudnizki Design Studio
Residential Interior Designer: Thomas Juul-Hansen
Mechanical: Lilker Associates Consulting Engineers
Structural: WSP Cantor Seinuk

In March 2012, GFI Development Company and GB Lodging acquired the iconic 5 Beekman Street building in Manhattan’s Fulton Nassau Historic District, adjacent to the Financial District in downtown New York City. 5 Beekman Street, formerly known as Temple Court and the Beekman Palace, is a 165,000 square foot historic building with a landmarked façade and a nine-story central atrium featuring Victorian iron railings. Originally built in 1881-1883 for law firms that needed to be near the important court houses of that era, 5 Beekman was the first high-rise building in New York. GFI Development Company and GB Lodging are converting this unique, historic structure, together with an adjacent site on Nassau Street, into a luxury hotel consisting of 287 guestrooms and 68 residences. The project will total approximately 340,000 square feet, include a 40+ story tower and intends to be a catalyst in the transformation of the Fulton Nassau Historic District. The hotel is scheduled to open in 2015.

The NoMad Exterior

Architect: Stonehill & Taylor Architects
Designer: Jacques Garcia
Mechanical: Thomas Polise Consulting Engineer
Structural: Goldstein Associates Consulting Engineers

In the Spring of 2008, GFI Development acquired 1170 Broadway, located in New York City, with a view toward converting the landmarked building into a luxury hotel in the emerging NoMad district. Despite the Global Financial Crisis, the 133,000 square foot former office building was successfully converted into a premiere lifestyle hotel featuring 168 guestrooms, replete with double bay windows and views of the Empire State and surrounding flatiron buildings. The interiors are designed by internationally acclaimed designer, Jacques Garcia, who brings his unique take on contemporary, bohemian opulence while simultaneously preserving the building’s historic feel. The NoMad Hotel opened in the second quarter of 2012 and has received significant acclaim for its design and food & beverage led by Daniel Humm and Will Guidara, two of New York City’s top culinary talents.

*GFI Development Company, formerly a partnership between Allen Gross and Andrew Zobler, developed the Nomad hotel.
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Architect: O2 Architecture
Designer: Commune
Mechanical: MRC Engineering
Structural: Concorde Consulting Group

A $21 million dollar reposition in 2007 by GFI Development Company transformed an old Howard Johnson hotel into one of Palm Springs’ most dynamic destinations. Los Angeles-based design company, Commune, was selected to work alongside Ace’s own design team, Atelier Ace, to create the property’s distinctive style. Several artists and designers working in the region were commissioned to create furniture and site-specific art, which is featured throughout the hotel premises. In addition to transforming a former roadside diner into what is now the hotel’s signature Kings Highway Restaurant, the Ace offers a spa, gym, and two pools. The Ace Hotel and Swim Club has received national and international praise from esteemed publications, including Elle Décor and Conde Nast Traveler. It consistently outperforms its competitive market and was recognized among the Top Ten Trendiest Hotels in the World by Travel & Leisure.

Ace NY Lobby

Architect: Stonehill & Taylor Architects
Designer: Roman and Williams
Mechanical: Edwards & Zuck
Structural: DeSimone Consulting Engineers

The former 180,000 square-foot Breslin Hotel was transformed into the Ace Hotel New York in 2006 by GB Lodging’s affiliate GFI Development Company. At the time, the neighborhood in which the 275-room hotel was located, — North of Madison Square Park (commonly referred to as NoMad) — was downtrodden, but strategically located. Since its opening, the Ace Hotel has been dubbed “a neighborhood starter kit” by New York Magazine for the hotel’s innovative retail and food and beverage concepts, which have energized a long forgotten New York City neighborhood. The hotel’s singular interiors have been internationally praised by publications such as Wallpaper Magazine and The New York Times, as well as winning a coveted award for best boutique design hotel from Interior Design magazine. The Ace Hotel was recognized among the Top Ten Trendiest Hotels in the World by Conde Nast Traveler. Restaurants include the Michelin-star-rated Breslin Restaurant, the John Dory Oyster Bar, Stumptown Coffee Roasters, No. 7 Sub, as well as retail by Opening Ceremony and Rudy’s Barbershop.

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Investment Criteria

Multi-Family, Mixed-Use & Conversions

Deal Location: NY Metropolitan Area
Deal Size: $10 – $250 Million
Project Size (Sq. Ft): 25,000+ sq ft
Property Type: Residential & Mixed-Use

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Retail and Office

Deal Location: NY Metropolitan Area
Deal Size: $10 – $250 Million
Project Size (Sq. Ft): 20,000+ sq ft
Property Type: Value-Add & Core

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Land and Development Sites

Deal Location: NY Metropolitan Area
Deal Size: $5 – $150 Million
Project Size (Sq. Ft): 20,000+ sq ft
Property Type: For Residential Use as of Right or With Approved Plans (Multi-family or Condominiums)

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Acquisition & Investment Services

 

GFI Capital Resources Group, Inc., through its various affiliates, provides a full range of real estate investment and management services. Since its inception in 1983, the firm’s affiliates has successfully acquired, built, rehabbed, managed and when appropriate, sold a wide variety of properties including multi-family, office, retail, hotel and mixed use. GFI has consistently generated attractive returns for their investment and joint venture partners.

GFI excels at transacting in deals that don’t fit the typical mold. Developing innovative methods to execute a strategy to add value is a cornerstone of our mission. Our out-of-the-box approaches include:

  • Maximizing tax credits in order to make a deal feasible.
  • Negotiating with municipalities to receive TIF and CID benefits which allow for capitalizing a deal in a way that enhances returns.
  • Unlocking value through true asset management – especially through turnarounds that add value to the overall asset.
  • Approaching a deal through negotiations with the lender and borrower simultaneously to allow for an inside track on acquiring a deal.
  • Willing to take on complex and complicated deals, finding innovative ways to unlock their value.

Strong Investment Platform

  • Diversified: Investment types include multifamily & mixed use/retail, stabilized acquisition as well as development.
  • Analytical: Our team utilizes both macro/strategy level analytics and micro/deal level analytics.
  • Local Knowledge: Hands-on acquisitions and asset management teams understand the regions in which they operate.
  • Existing Institutional Relationships: Both debt and equity.
  • Transactional Capability: Acquisitions and dispositions, resulting from 35+ years of active investing.
  • Ability to Support Co-Investment: Strong balance sheet.

Strong Operating Platform

  • Scalable: Technology platform that includes full marketing/revenue management modules and customer experience surveys to provide top data analyzation.
  • Capable: Through our affiliates, investments are supplemented with local regional management teams in addition to marketing & construction management specialists.
  • Sustainable: Stabilized acquisitions, as well as development, act as growth engines. Additionally, we have extensive experience in energy and water saving retrofits, part of all evaluations.

 

 

The NoMad Parlour

Team

Allen Gross

CEO & Co-Founder

Allen Gross, who is also President & CEO of GFI Capital Resources Group, began his career as a real estate attorney after receiving his Juris Doctor from New York School of Law. During this time, Mr. Gross represented acclaimed builders, investors, and developers, while compiling an ever expanding portfolio of qualifications within the real estate industry. In 1983, Mr. Gross founded GFI Mortgage Bankers, Inc. while continuing to practice law. He grew this company into a diversified investment and services company with multiple affiliates; realty services, real estate investments,  property management, insurance, development, and hotels.

Bruce Blum

President & Co-Founder

Bruce Blum offers 30 years of principal-oriented hotel experience including ten years at The Chartres Lodging Group, LLC, a preeminent hotel private equity firm whose 14,000-room portfolio of luxury and upscale hotels throughout the US and Japan is among the largest in the US. There, as Partner, he was instrumental in its portfolio growth, capital raising, asset management and advisory activities and also served as Managing Partner of Kokua Hospitality, LLC, its property management affiliate.

Prior to Chartres Lodging’s formation, he served as CEO of Doral Hotels & Resorts, nine years as a private company followed by three years as President at MeriStar Hotels & Resorts, the predecessor entity of Interstate Hotels & Resorts, the world’s largest independent hotel operator. Bruce has been instrumental in the capitalization/ recapitalization, acquisition, development, and/or sale of more than $3 billion of hotel and resort projects in addition to his asset management, operating and advisory experience. He graduated from the Florida International University (FIU) School of Hospitality and Tourism Management with honors, serves on its Advisory Board and was awarded the FIU Medallion by its Board of Trustees for exemplary professional and civic endeavors. He also is a member of the New York Hospitality Council and Board of Directors of Doral Arrowwood.

Eric Bass

EVP, Development Management

Eric Bass is a 30-year hotel industry veteran responsible for the group’s Development Management efforts. Prior to joining GB Lodging, Eric served as Senior Vice President, Development for Morgans Hotel Group for 14 years where he directed the development activities of their portfolio including prominent lifestyle properties such as the Hudson, Royalton, Morgans and Mondrian SOHO in New York City; Delano, Shore Club and Mondrian South Beach in Miami Beach, Ames in Boston; Mondrian LA in Los Angeles; and St. Martins Lane and Sanderson in London.

Eric has also served as the Owners Representative/Development Manager of The New York Palace Hotel where he directed the $120 million full renovation and repositioning of the hotel into a 5-Diamond property and has held various positions in senior management with Global Hyatt, The Plaza Hotel in New York City, and Doral Hotels and Resorts.

Eric holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration.

Adam Maisel

VP, Acquisitions and Development

Adam Maisel is primarily responsible for prospective deal underwriting and working on GB Lodging’s development projects. He has over six years of real estate investing experience with a focus on hospitality assets.

Prior to joining GB Lodging, Adam was a Vice President at Ramsfield Hospitality where he was involved in the closing and asset management of over $250 million of hospitality debt and equity investment. Before Ramsfield, he was an analyst at the Real Estate Merchant Banking Group of Wells Fargo.

Adam earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration with a concentration in real estate finance.

Robert Brewer

Associate, Acquisitions and Development

Robert Brewer is primarily responsible for assisting the Acquisitions and Development teams with prospective deal underwriting and the execution of GB Lodging’s development projects.  He also works on the ongoing asset management efforts of GB Lodging’s hotel portfolio.

Prior to joining GB Lodging, Robert was a Senior Analyst at Ernst and Young in its Transaction Real Estate practice where he was involved in developing market and feasibility studies for prospective hotel developments, conducting due diligence for major hotel transactions and strategic advisory for leading hotel and tourism companies.

Robert graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree with a minor in real estate from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration.

Mark Steenson

Director, Asset Management

Mark Steenson oversees asset management of GB Lodging, LLC’s growing hotel portfolio. Prior to joining GFI, Mark was Director of Finance for the 1350 room Milford Plaza Hotel in New York City, one of the largest hotels in New York. Previous to the Milford Plaza, he was Asset Manager for Como Holdings USA, and oversaw the financial management of several hotels in the US and Caribbean and also assisted in the construction and development of new infrastructure, villas and housing at The Parrot Cay Resort and Shambhala Spa in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Before joining Como, Mark was Chief Financial Officer and partner of Paramount Communications Systems, a New York based hotel and telecommunications technology firm providing consulting, network and telecommunications services to more than 60 hotel clients on the Eastern seaboard of the United States. Prior to Paramount, Mark held senior executive finance positions with Helmsley Hotels and Field Hotel Associates. Mark holds degrees in Hotel Management from the State University of New York at Delhi and Accounting from Albany Business College, Albany, NY.

Paul Fisher

Assistant Director, Hotel Asset Management

Paul Fisher provides GB Lodging, LLC and its capital partners with asset management services for its expanding hotel portfolio. With operations and finance experience in over eight hotels, Paul has been responsible for profitability and growth of many departments including supervision of 100+ associates, as well as development and implementation of numerous budgets. The foundation of his experience was gained with Marriott International in the New York City market and later with Ian Schrager at the Gramercy Park Hotel and his corporate office. Paul Fisher holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel/ Restaurant and Institutional Management from the University of Delaware.

Senka Suljic

Director, Special Projects

As Director of Special projects, Senka is responsible for managing a wide variety of key initiatives across a number of functional areas. She also oversees various aspects of marketing, branding, special events and media relations for GB Lodging.  As a former television producer and media project manager, Senka brings ten plus years of experience in media and communications, domestically and internationally. Prior to joining GB Lodging, she was a producer for NBC News and CBS News. Born and raised in Sarajevo, Bosnia, Senka started her career in the high-profile Bosnia Hotel. She graduated from the University of St. Catherine in Minneapolis, MN with a BA in journalism, and a minor in graphic design.

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Investment Philosophy

Fundamental value enhancement is at the foundation of our investment and asset management strategy. Our team accomplishes value creation through a rare combination of experienced operating resources, sophisticated financial insights, rigorous investment underwriting, aggressive asset management and exiting in periods of high capital liquidity. We create significant value for partners through our diverse expertise in investments, development, operations, asset management and consulting.

Our investment approach is rooted in a combination of the following strategic principles:

  • Reliance on operating know-how and industry expertise to implement the transformation of hotel businesses
  • Active, informed and experienced operating oversight while creating sensible financing structures to maximize value
  • A belief that successful businesses consist of trustworthy partners, experienced managers and sound financial underpinnings
  • Focused asset underwriting beyond balance sheet and cash flow analysis, studying of macro and micro industry trends, customer relationships, product uniqueness, potential efficiencies and new opportunities for revenue enhancements
  • A focus on key issues impacting competitiveness, in order to develop strategies to improve operations
  • Collaboration with management to establish a strong business foundation on which repositioning / growth initiatives can be supported
  • Long-term approach to investment and relationship management, while ensuring that we do not hold between cycles

 

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