Chic downtown Atlanta hotel sold to Colorado firm after loan trouble

The W hotel and the 763-room Sheraton Atlanta Hotel became two of the largest properties to face loan distress this year as the office and hospitality markets unevenly recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. High interest rates and a wall of debt set to mature in the coming years have some economists worried a wave of foreclosures could sweep through underperforming commercial properties.

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In July, Texas-based Ashford filed a federal notice that it would return the W Atlanta and 18 other hotels across the country because they were not generating enough revenue to cover their debts. The decision to offload the hotels saved Ashford about $305 million in costs to continue holding the properties, while also reducing the firm’s debt portfolio by about $700 million, according to filing.

The 19 hotels were financed by three commercial mortgage-backed securities, whose lenders included Bank of America, Barclays Bank and Morgan Stanley. The loans matured in June, but Ashford Hospitality Trust did not extend the loans after deciding the return on investment was not worth it, according to the filing.

The W hotel, which is managed by Marriott, opened in January 2009, coinciding with the Great Recession.

Credit: Phil Skinner

Credit: Phil Skinner

The situation with Ashford was the second time an owner of the W hotel faced issues with its lenders. Following a complicated foreclosure that also involved the property’s primary lender going through bankruptcy, the hotel went through foreclosure in October 2010.

Ashford Hospitality Trust would acquire the hotel in 2015 for nearly $57 million.

Neither Ashford nor Stonebridge responded to a request for comment. This is Stonebridge’s first hotel in Georgia.

“It’s exciting to not only expand in existing markets but also grow in new markets with these cash-flowing hotels within the Hilton and Marriott families,” Steve Kakaty, Stonebridge’s chief investment officer, said in the release. “We are thrilled to add these properties, which offer both renovation and operational upside, to our portfolio.”

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