UPDATE: Fairwood Capital In Agreement to Buy Peabody Little Rock

by George Waldon  on Thursday, Jun. 28, 2012 11:35 am  

Fairwood Capital LLC of Memphis is looking to add the largest hotel in Arkansas to its growing portfolio of hospitality properties.

Fairwood Capital LLC of Memphis is looking to add The Peabody Little Rock to its growing portfolio of hospitality properties, according to the company that controls the state's largest hotel.

The Peabody Little Rock, with 418 rooms and 22 suites, is controlled by BG Excelsior Ltd., led by Marty Belz. The limited partnership leases the location from the city of Little Rock in an arrangement that expires in 21 years with two, 25-year options to extend.

In a statement, BG Excelsior confirmed earlier reports that it is considering selling the Peabody, saying it has signed an agreement with Fairwood "regarding a potential sale" of the hotel.

"The sale is subject to completion of the buyer's due diligence and various other conditions including approval of the transaction by City of Little Rock officials," BG said in a news release.

BG Excelsior is an affiliate of The Peabody Hotel Group, which is part of Belz Enterprises Inc. of Memphis, and operates the 18-story property that includes 40,000 SF of meeting space. Arkansas Business reported Wednesday that Belz was considering a sale.

Since its 2008 launch, Fairwood has purchased a string of properties that include a Hampton Inn and Suites in Atlanta, an Embassy Suites in St. Louis, a Hilton Garden Inn in Baton Rouge, La. and the Hilton Knoxville (Tenn.).

Fairwood is led by Ed Ansbro of Memphis and Todd Solmson of New York. The two hope to build a $400 million portfolio with as many as 25 hotel properties.

"The Peabody has been honored to be part of the Little Rock community for these past 10 years," Andrew Groveman, senior vice president of Belz Enterprises, said in the news release. 

"We are delighted to have found a prospective buyer we have known for many years and who plans to invest substantial funds into the hotel, so that it will continue to be a vital part of the Little Rock lodging and tourism scene."

In its statement, BG Excelsior said Fairwood is exploring "several upscale national hotel franchise companies to determine a brand for the hotel." The rebranding will require "a multi-million dollar investment in comprehensive renovations to the property." It said renovations will likely include "all guest rooms and some public spaces, and they are not contingent upon financing."

Fairwood expects to select a brand for the hotel "within the next month," the news release said.

The Deal



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