In Rare Move, Firm Turns Over San Diego Property, Unable to Modify Loan

(Source: Wall Street Journal)

Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. intends to forfeit the 258-room W San Diego to its lenders after its efforts to reach a compromise on the luxury hotel’s $65 million securitized mortgage failed.

Sunstone, a real-estate investment trust that owns 43 hotels, bought the W for $96 million in 2006 from a group led by developer Gatehouse Capital Corp. Since then, the slumping performance of the W San Diego and the broader hotel market has made supporting that mortgage a challenge for Sunstone.

Foreclosures and forfeitures of hotels are becoming commonplace in this recession, though a public REIT turning over a high-profile, luxury property still is rare. Default rates on securitized mortgages backed by hotels have risen sharply as travelers have cut back, occupancies and revenues have tanked and, subsequently, hotel owners have run into difficulty making their debt payments. To wit, 3.16% of securitized mortgages backed by hotels now are delinquent on payments as compared to just 0.44% at this time last year, according to Trepp LLC.

A recent report by the special servicer of the W’s mortgage, Centerline Serving Inc., noted that the W San Diego since 2007 has failed to generate enough monthly income to cover both its operating costs and its interest payments.

Read Kris Hudson’s full article “Sunstone REIT Forfeits W Hotel” in the Wall Street Journal (June 8, 2009).

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