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Capital Business
Posted at 06:36 PM ET, 01/30/2012

Drop in business travel threatens owner of Washington Ritz-Carltons

The owners of four Ritz-Carlton hotels — including those in Georgetown and the West End — are at-risk of defaulting on a $170.6
Both Ritz-Carlton locations in the District are at-risk of defaulting on a loan, according to Morningstar. (Andrew Harrer - Bloomberg)
million loan, according to the ratings agency Morningstar.

The loan is backed by four Ritz-Carlton hotels: the two in the District and two in New York City, at Battery Park and Central Park. The borrowers include Millennium Partners, the German insurance group ERGO Versicherungsgruppe AG and Provinzial Rheinland Lebensversicherung AG. A message left with Millennium Partners, based in New York, was not immediately returned.

Many hotels have regained momentum after the recession cut into room bookings and rates, enough so that many hotel owners are investing in multi-million dollar renovations of their properties to improve lobbies, bedrooms and bathrooms.

But industry analysts have raised concerns about whether the recovery could be sustained in the face of a still sputtering economy, diminishing demand and leveling room rates. Properties with owners who struggle to make or else miss loan payments sometimes end up on the market.

The borrowers of the Ritz-Carlton loan are at risk of defaulting and have cited an ongoing “lack of business travel” for the problems according to Morningstar and a report from Bloomberg.

“Expectations for the two Washington D.C properties have been in line with budget projections, as foreign travel was hampered by the recent appreciation of the dollar,” Morningstar wrote in its analysis of the loan.

Additionally the ratings firm added: “Management’s focus has been to keep operating expenses in check.”

The loan originated with Morgan Stanley, according to Morningstar. Wells Fargo Bank is managing the loan and C-III Capital has been named the special servicer.

Follow Jonathan O’Connell on Twitter at: @oconnellpostbiz

By  |  06:36 PM ET, 01/30/2012

Tags:  Ritz-Carlton, commercial real estate, Georgetown

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