5 things to know: 25 February 2019
5 things to know: 25 February 2019
25 FEBRUARY 2019 10:27 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Signia Hilton targeting new big-box properties
  • Economists predicting recession soon
  • Trump delays Chinese tariffs
  • Pebblebrook closes $142m Palomar deal
  • Schrager faces copyright lawsuit

Signia Hilton targeting new big-box properties: Hilton officials believe they’ve identified a development white space with their new brand, Signia Hilton, noting the brand’s properties will have a minimum of 500 keys and 75 square feet of meeting space per key. Those types of “big-box” hotels have not been built in recent years, and President and CEO Chris Nassetta believes conditions are changing to support their development for the first time since the Great Recession, writes HNN’s Stephanie Ricca.

“The short-term trends are phenomenal, and the long-term trends (around group business) are fantastic in the U.S. and around the world,” he said. “There are a couple markets around the world, particularly the U.S. and Europe, where we’ve missed a generation of construction of big hotels that have meeting space. When meeting planners tell us they want new and different things, it’s because they’re dealing with spaces that are in some cases three generations old.”

Economists predicting recession soon: While few economists see a recession in the cards for the U.S. in 2019, most expect one by 2020, according to a report from Bloomberg. The survey from the National Association for Business Economics was released today, and it shows 42% of economists expect a recession in 2020, 10% expect one this year and 25% expect a recession in 2021.

Economists were split over how this increasing level of pessimism would affect short-term lending rates, with one fifth projecting no impact, a fifth projecting a 25-basis-point increase and another fifth expecting an increase of 50 basis points or more.

Trump delays Chinese tariffs: President Donald Trump has delayed a plan to increase tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, claiming “substantial progress” has been made in U.S.-China trade talks, according to The Wall Street Journal. The newspaper notes Trump tweeted hopes to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping to “conclude an agreement” between the two countries, although he didn’t share any specifics about how long that deal might be or what it would include. Tariffs were slated to increase from 10% to 25% over the weekend.

Chinese officials have “offered to increase purchases of U.S. farm and energy products and services, ease restrictions on U.S. firms in financial services and auto manufacturing and improve protection of U.S. intellectual-property rights,” according to The Journal.

Pebblebrook closes $142m Palomar deal: Pebblebrook Hotel Trust has announced the closure of its $141.5-million sale of the Hotel Palomar Washington, D.C., according to a news release from the company. The sale officially closed on 22 February.

Pebblebrook officials said they sold the 335-room property at a 14.9x earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization multiple and a 5.9% NOI cap rate based on 2018 performance. Sale proceeds will be used for “general business purposes which may include reducing the company’s outstanding debt.”

No buyer was named in the announcement.

Schrager faces trademark lawsuit: Ian Schrager’s Public Hotel has been accused of violating the trademark of New York’s Public Theater, a decades-old nonprofit known for free Shakespeare performances, according to The New York Times. The newspaper notes the two buildings both have bold-faced signage reading “Public” and are “a half-mile apart on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.”

The New York Shakespeare Festival (the official name of The Public Theater) filed suit Thursday, claiming infringement of the name “Public” and for using similar signage. The 28-story hotel opened in 2017 and features a performance space.

Compiled by Sean McCracken.

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