News on Friday that Houston-based Hines Real Estate Investments acquired Out of The Blue Capsis Elite Resort and five other Crete Island hotels could signal the expansion of a U.S. investment boom.
By Phil Butler
The acquisition by Hines of six hotels on Crete, along with other Crete investments, may signal hospitality’s continued expansion in the coming months.
Hines, which manages more than $160 billion in assets worldwide, acquired the Agia Pelagia resort for an estimated €125.2 million. The reports suggest the American investment firm won out by a wide margin over bids by Prodea and Piraeus Bank.
This acquisition comes in the wake of news last month of investors at Henderson Park and Hines taking over a portfolio of other hotels in Crete. Capsis owner Konstantina (Dias) Kapsi has been in litigation for a couple of years over the resort’s indebtedness. Clearly, the effects on tourism from the coronavirus pandemic have pushed a great many hotels and resorts to the brink.
Hines’ other hotel acquisitions in Crete
Hines, which is one of the world’s largest real estate investment firms, bought several other hotels on Crete, including the Hermes Hotel, the Coral Hotel near Agios Nikolaos, the Santa Marina, the Apollonia Beach at Amoudara in Heraklion, and Sitia Beach Hotel, in the aforementioned deal.
In the wider view, many financial experts are predicting the economic disaster Covid-19 brought on may soon turn into a windfall for those with the capital to invest. A few even say the supercharged growth in the US economy could lead to a worldwide period of growth that surpasses pre-pandemic expansion.
They base these predictions on indications from the apparent effects of the US government’s multi-trillion dollar stimulus programs now seen filtering throughout the economy. Job growth in the US is way up. Then there’s the real estate bubble that defies predictions. JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon explained to CNBC:
“I have little doubt that with excess savings, new stimulus savings, huge deficit spending, more QE, a new potential infrastructure bill, a successful vaccine, and euphoria around the end of the pandemic, the US economy will likely boom. This boom could easily run into 2023 because all the spending could extend well into 2023.”
EU regulators and investment experts expect similar results from the European bloc’s monetary incentives to ease pandemic stricken businesses. In Greece, the commission’s endorsement of Greece’s €30.5 billion recovery through NextGenerationEU has hoteliers and investors eyeing expansion next year.
Pandemic losses to lead to unprecedented gains
Greek Reporter contacted Crete entrepreneur Minas Liapakis, the head of EyeWide Digital, one of the world’s top 50 hotel marketing firms, to get a local view on the situation for hotel investment in Greece. Liapakis, whose firm has represented several of these hotels in the past, says the pandemic losses will eventually lead to unprecedented gains for some.
The veteran hospitality marketer added “At the end of the season last year almost everyone in the hospitality and tourism industry voiced serious doubts about the future of resorts here in Crete and in Greece overall for the coming season.
“Now we are seeing key investments by the most stable resort owners, and by strong outside concerns, which we believe will lead to unprecedented opportunities in the coming term.”
Capsis Blue is one of Greece’s most iconic seaside resorts, located on the ruins of the ancient city of Apollonia overlooking a picture postcard seaside village. The 400-plus unit all-suites resort on Agia Pelagia Bay has hosted Saudi sheiks, Hollywood movie stars, Russian oligarchs, and a long list of celebrities over the years.
The Hines investment firm, founded in Houston in 1957 by Gerald D. Hines, is now run by the founder’s son, Jeffrey C. Hines. The company’s other recent news tells of three retail projects being nominated as finalists in the Best Outlet Center category at the MAPIC Awards 2021 in Russia. Hines European Core Fund also announced the sale of of Via Crespi in Milan.
Phil Butler is editor in chief of Phil Butler of Argophilia Travel News