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$50M Renovation In Works for Hotel Irvine

New Hyatt Regency opening in fall

After being shuttered for more than two years, Irvine’s largest hotel by room count is preparing for a new debut under the Hyatt flag.

New owner Chicago-based Hyatt Hotels Corp. (NYSE: H) said in mid-February it is spending nearly $50 million to upgrade the former 541-room Hotel Irvine and is preparing for a “spectacular reopening” of the property this fall with a name harkening to its prior roots: Hyatt Regency Irvine.

Irvine Co. indefinitely closed the property in 2020 as a result of the pandemic and sold the 14-story hotel last August to Hyatt for $135 million, marking the second time the Newport Beach-based landlord offloaded a local hospitality asset last year.

Hyatt paid about $250,000 per key for the hotel, marking the first change in ownership since it opened on the grounds of the Jamboree Center office campus just off the San Diego (405) Freeway in 1985.

It also marked a return to the Hyatt brand for Hotel Irvine, which was known as the Hyatt Regency Irvine until 2013 when Irvine Co. rebranded and renovated the hotel, located at 17900 Jamboree Road and less than 2 miles from John Wayne Airport.

Quick Resale Planned

The Irvine property is not expected to be a long-term hold for Hyatt, which will place the hotel back on the market upon completion of its revamp, and once the property stabilizes.

“Our intention is that as soon as we demonstrate what we think is going to be extraordinary demand that we can pull into that hotel, we will take it to market,” Hyatt CEO and President Mark Hoplamazian said during a Feb. 16 conference call with analysts.

Lone Asset

The planned $50 million renovation “provides us strategic distribution in an important market,” Chief Financial Officer Joan Bottarini said during the earnings call.

“We look forward to welcoming guests for a spectacular reopening this fall,” Bottarini said.

The renovation is a “transformative investment,” according to Bottarini, and is expected to span the entirety of the 587,158-square-foot property, OC’s eighth-largest hotel by room count.

Prior to Hotel Irvine’s closure, it counted two restaurant tenants, including Eats Kitchen & Bar and Red Bar & Lounge, and 27,000 square feet of meeting space.

Hoplamazian previously said the acquisition secures “our presence in a highly sought-after location where we are underrepresented.”

It’s the only Hyatt-owned property in OC, though it manages other hotels in the area, including two others in Irvine: Hyatt House Irvine/John Wayne Airport and the Hyatt Regency John Wayne Airport, Newport Beach.

World-Class

Irvine Co., which also had owned Fashion Island Hotel, now manages only one local hotel property, the Resort at Pelican Hill. The hotel has remained open throughout the pandemic and is not impacted by Irvine Co.’s portfolio changes.

“We’re pleased that Hyatt’s world-class standards will continue to offer the quality experiences found at this premier location,” Irvine Co. told the Business Journal after the August sale, which came a little more than a year after Irvine Co. said it was looking for a new hotel operator for Hotel Irvine and Fashion Island Hotel.

Fashion Island Hotel is slated for a full rebrand and renovation that will turn the 295-room hotel into the Pendry Newport Beach, set to debut this summer. Pendry is a growing brand led under the banner of Irvine-based hospitality firm Montage International.

Shopoff Connection

Hyatt’s other significant capital expenditures, alongside the Irvine hotel, also includes $150 million in renovations for its Apple Leisure Group portfolio, which it acquired in 2021 from affiliates of KKR and KSL Capital Partners LLC.

The acquisition added about 100 hotels and resorts in 10 countries, doubling Hyatt’s global resorts footprint.

Hyatt this month closed on its acquisition of New York City-based Dream Hotel Group, adding 12 lifestyle hotels with another two dozen hotels expected to open in the future. That deal adds an additional OC tie for Hyatt; Dream Hotel Group has been tapped to manage a Las Vegas hotel being developed by Irvine-based Shopoff Realty Investments.

Dream Las Vegas is expected to open in late 2024.
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