For locally based Eagle Four Partners and Montage International, the latest addition to their respective hospitality portfolios marks a staycation of sorts.
The duo last week announced plans to transform the currently shuttered Fashion Island Hotel in Newport Center into the Pendry Newport Beach.
This location will be the third Southern California property of Pendry Hotels & Resorts, a growing luxury boutique hotel line from Irvine-based Montage International, following spots in West Hollywood and San Diego.
The brand launched in 2017 and now counts nine locations countrywide. It reports having three other locations under various phases of development in the U.S., not counting the OC spot.
The Pendry Newport Beach, with nearly 300 rooms and 22,000 square feet of meeting and event space, is expected to open in summer 2023. It’ll be OC’s 39th-largest hotel by room count, and the sixth-largest hotel in Newport Beach, when it opens.
Oversight of the 20-story property next to Irvine Co.’s Fashion Island shopping center falls to Newport Beach’s Eagle Four, which over the past decade has built a sizeable hotel and resort portfolio in and around its hometown.
Other area properties in its collection include the Balboa Bay Resort & Club and Newport Beach Country Club, plus the Paséa Hotel & Spa in Huntington Beach
Eagle Four is taking over stewardship of the hotel from Irvine Co.; financial terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed. Irvine Co., based in Newport Beach and owner of much of Newport Center, said last year that it would “retain ownership of the land and enter into a long-term lease” with a premier operator as part of the transaction.
Last week’s announcement comes after an almost two-year shutdown of operations at the Newport Beach hotel, as well as Irvine Co.’s Hotel Irvine near John Wayne Airport, due to the pandemic. Irvine Co. is expected to announce a new operator for Hotel Irvine later this year.
Montage’s executive hoteliers had been keeping tabs on the Newport Center location and said they immediately had interest.
“It’s a hotel we’ve known in the community for a long time,” Alan Fuerstman, chair and CEO of Montage, told the Business Journal.
Michael Fuerstman, Pendry co-founder and creative director, also noted his company’s admiration of the coastal lifestyle of Newport Beach, and how the style and collection of amenities Pendry could bring could fit in well with the area.
“It’s a great piece of architecture with enough scale and mass to make something dramatic. Our job as hoteliers is to shape what the next vision for this next property will be,” Michael Fuerstman said.
One of the new focuses for the Pendry Newport Beach is further developing its restaurant, bar, and lounge experiences, officials said.
Look forward to a great dining scene, according to Michael, sharing his goal to create a destination dinner and drinks spot. Along with a private membership club, the hotelier mentioned a possible inclusion of a social club for guests, with more details soon to be announced.
The project will not only be catered to international and national guests, but “will also be the place for staycations, as the local community is incredibly important for the hotel’s success,” Alan Fuerstman said.
Irvine Co. built Fashion Island Hotel in 1986, and the property’s seen several changes in operations over the years. The hotel previously was managed by Four Seasons, until Irvine Co. took the property in-house in 2005 under the Island Hotel Newport Beach name. It was rebranded under the Fashion Island name about four years ago.
Other area hotel developers are excited about the new addition to the local scene, after its multiyear closure.
The Pendry “will be great for Newport Beach and our hospitality here,” said Bob Olson, president of Newport Beach’s R.D. Olson Development.
“Newport Beach is one of the best destination beach cities in the U.S. and we are far underserved of quality hotels,” said Olson, who built the city’s Lido House property. “The Pendry Hotel management team, teamed up with Eagle Four, will bring a great hotel desperately needed to fill both the leisure and business travel demand. We look forward to a successful opening of a great addition
to our community.”
Montage International was founded by Alan Fuerstman in 2002. It manages seven properties under the Montage name, including a location along Coast Highway in Laguna Beach, and has a pair of spots in development for 2023.
The last property it opened, the 130-Room Montage Healdsburg, last year was bought by Irvine’s Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. (NYSE: SHO) for $265 million, one of the priciest hotel sales in the state on a per-room basis.
Michael Fuerstman, the son of Alan, joined the brand in 2009, and the duo have worked together since to grow the luxury resort chain’s portfolio. A few years ago, the younger Fuerstman saw the opportunity for branching into a newer luxury clientele. Pendry opened its first property in 2017.
The company has been able to grow its portfolio over the course of the pandemic despite nationwide shutdowns. “We had to stay equally focused on the planning and openings … as well as moving forward [when] managing the challenges of a pandemic,” Alan Fuerstman said.
The design of the local Pendry will feature floor-to-ceiling windows, step-out balconies, and private patios with ocean and bay views.
A focus on accentuating ocean views is also the plan of Eagle Four’s other big hotel development project in the immediate area.
It’s in the midst of transforming the former Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa into a new Marriott-branded project called Vea Newport Beach.
The 400-room project, which remains open during renovations, is close to debuting. See the Jan. 31 print edition of the Business Journal for more on that project, which Eagle Four and other investor bought in 2020 for $216 million. It was the largest hotel deal in the state that year.
On its latest deal for the former Fashion Island Hotel, “we are dedicated to continuously investing in Newport Beach and elevating the hospitality experience of our neighbors and guests,” Eagle Four co-founding partner Kevin Martin said in a statement.
Montage officials said that Eagle Four is an ideal partner for Pendry as another local company making its mark on the hospitality front in OC.
“There’s an incredible focus on quality. We’re sharing so much of the same passion for creating incredible experiences with our guests,” Alan Fuerstman said of the collaboration. He also dubbed the project as “a coming together of some of OC’s finest companies.”
“The team is very active and very hands-on, as we are. It’s going to be a very collaborative effort,” Michael Fuerstman said.