The high-stakes real estate game in Atlanta and Pompano Beach is seeing major moves, with properties flipping like hotcakes despite an ostensibly troubled market. Ashford Hospitality Trust Inc., a Dallas-based investment firm, is offloading five of its Georgia hotels, including Atlanta’s prime Ritz-Carlton. This disposal comes as Ashford seeks to slim down its debt ahead of some maturing loans. They acquired the Ritz-Carlton in a joint venture with Prudential Real Estate back in 2011, taking full ownership four years later, as per a report from Atlanta Business Chronicle.
Meanwhile, down in Florida, Edgardo Defortuna’s Fortune International Group and Ricardo Dunin’s Oak Capital seem to have better luck, having just secured a hefty $259 million construction loan, gearing up to lay down the foundations of the luxe Ritz-Carlton Residences in Pompano Beach. Despite an industry-wide borrowing hiccup triggered by a spike in interest rates and soaring insurance premiums, the two Miami moguls are moving full steam ahead, aiming to complete their ritzy oceanfront project within two years. This news arrives courtesy of The Real Deal.
Back in Atlanta, the Ritz-Carlton’s occupancy rate reportedly stood at a modest 61% at the close of 2022, with the parent company, Ashford, mulling over the idea to not necessarily sell all of its listed assets. Instead, they're opting to cherry-pick those that can command the most attractive valuations. “As we enter 2024, we are focused on paying off our strategic corporate financing," Ashford President and CEO Rob Hays said in the January press release obtained by Atlanta Business Chronicle.
On the flip side, The Ritz-Carlton Residences in Pompano Beach are slated to offer high-end amenities, including a marina and onsite dining – a bid to surely to reel in the affluent. The project's more than 90 percent pre-sold status underscores the insatiable demand for luxury living, even as parts of the industry are hitting the brakes on new projects due to the aforementioned financial friction. "Construction started this year, and completion is expected in 2026," according to details in the press release shared by The Real Deal.
It's a tale of two investments: one steering through choppy waters to mitigate debt strain, while the other navigates with clear skies ahead, banking on the enduring lure of opulence. If nothing else, what's unfolding in Atlanta and Pompano Beach serves up a stark reminder that even in uncertain times, the appetite for luxury can prevail, and that real estate, for all its unpredictability, always has players willing to place high bets on its future.