A substantial South Maui real estate purchase was recently made when GIC Real Estate, the real estate arm of the Government of Singapore Investment Corp., bought the Grand Wailea Hotel. Such a decision could not be made without a high level of confidence in returns on the investment, which bodes well, yet it isn’t surprising considering climbing hotel occupancy, visitor arrivals, daily spending and revenue per available room on Maui.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Grand Wailea, it is a luxury resort in West Maui, and a lot of employees depend on it for their livelihood. Naturally, there were a lot of concerns that the purchase would lead to job losses, but happily, GIC is allowing Hilton Worldwide to continue operating the Grand Wailea. According to Hilton, the transition of ownership will have no impact on the operation of the hotel.
After years of economic instability during the Great Recession, which led to a lot of job losses, Grand Wailea employees certainly felt as if a great weight was lifted when they found their job security would not be threatened by an ownership change. Not everyone is as lucky, even with the economy recovering. Changes in ownership often lead to changes in management, and a restructuring of the business, no matter what kind of business it is, so the news was wonderful to hear.
GIC also purchased the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa in Phoenix and the La Quinta Resort & Club in La Quinta, California. All of these luxury resorts are managed by the Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts brand of Hilton Worldwide, but they were not the hotel owners. It was a group led by New York-based Paulson & Co. that sold the properties for $1.5 billion in a bankruptcy auction after finding themselves unable to sell the hotels.
All this means is that GIC got a great deal. The Grand Wailea is one of the most beautiful properties in South Maui, located on the beach and including all the amenities. It is also the favorite hotel of many returning guests. The way the visitor industry is trending upward, it will be surprising if GIC doesn’t get a big return on this investment. Only time will tell, and we’ll continue to watch for interesting news like this, so check back every Friday for our latest blog on the South Maui community. If you need assistance with your real estate search, you’ll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo!