NEW YORK CITY — The advice of “Carpe Diem” has never rung more true in the world of hotel investors. It is time to seize the day on financing rates, as the wind down of the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing program (QE3) and rising Treasury rates are signalling an increase in interest rates for hotel owners. The spectre of rising interest rates is resulting in an increase in borrowing on hotel assets, which is expected to continue for the next 36 to 48 months.

In response to the increased activity, Jones Lang LaSalle has expanded its bench of dedicated hotel financing experts to meet the industry’s growing demand. Matt Comfort, recently appointed Managing Director, leads the firm’s national Hotel Investment Banking platform. Comfort has been an integral part of the firm for more than seven years and has secured nearly $4.0 billion in hotel financing since 2010. His 18-year career involves every aspect of real estate, and he is widely recognized for financing some of the most iconic, luxury hotels in the world, such as the Palmer House Hilton and the JW Marriot Essex House.

 “With the pending rise of Treasury rates, it’s prime time for long-term holders of stabilized hotel assets to secure fixed-rate financing and lock in today’s rate, which remains historically low,” said Comfort. “Short-term, floating-rate financing options will be an attractive vehicle for hotel owners, as the LIBOR basis risk remains relatively low during the next few years. Increased competition for lending is causing credit spreads to tighten, pushing lenders to finance assets outside their wheelhouse.”

“As banks remain light on hotel assets, and debt funds expand hospitality lending as a means to generate incremental yield, it’s essential we expand our specialized hotel investment banking platform to drive productive solutions for the industry,” commented Art Adler, Americas CEO, Jones Lang LaSalle’s Hotels & Hospitality Group.  

With a strong call to action to hotel borrowers, Comfort has added to his team with the hiring of industry veteran Kevin Davisas an Executive Vice President. Davis is responsible for raising capital for hotel owners and developers, and providing advisory services. For the last decade, Davis has sourced and executed more than $7 billion in first mortgage and mezzanine financings in the commercial real estate groups at Merrill Lynch and UBS. In 2009, he co-founded FundCore Finance, a high yield lending platform that managed $150 million of equity capital for institutional investors.

Additionally, Bill Gricehas been promoted to Executive Vice President and will be responsible for assisting clients in fulfilling their ongoing capital requirements by arranging financing for the acquisition of new hospitality assets, renovating current holdings or refinancing existing debt. Grice has been a part of the JLL hotel investment banking team for six years. Prior to Jones Lang LaSalle, he spent four years with GE Capital Real Estate in loan originations, advising on more than 130 transactions with proceeds totaling over $3.0 billion. 

Jones Lang LaSalle has also promoted Mike Huth to Senior Vice President and Matt Nowaczyk to Vice President, to further develop the platform’s client service offerings and financing execution expertise.

“The team’s full-time focus on hospitality finance,coupled with the unmatched knowledge that our overall platform exhibits,will allow us to further differentiate ourselves as the market-leading investment banking platform,” said Tom Fish, Co-Leader of Jones Lang LaSalle’s Real Estate Investment Banking Group.  

For more information read JLL’s Debt Capital Markets Americas Commentary.

Jones Lang LaSalle’s Hotels &Hospitality Group serves as the hospitality industry’s global leader in real estate services for luxury, upscale, select-service and budget hotels; timeshare and fractional ownership properties; convention centers; mixed-use developments and other hospitality properties. The firm’s more than 265 dedicated hospitality experts partner with investors and owner/operators around the globe to support and shape investment strategies that deliver maximum value throughout the entire lifecycle of an asset. In the last five years, the team completed more transactions than any other hospitality real estate advisor in the world totaling nearly $25 billion, while also completing approximately 4,000 advisory and valuation assignments. The group’s hotels and hospitality specialists provide independent and expert advice to clients, backed by industry-leading research.

For more news, videos and research from Jones Lang LaSalle’s Hotels & Hospitality Group, please visit: www.jll.com/hospitality

About Jones Lang LaSalle

Jones Lang LaSalle (NYSE:JLL) is a professional services and investment management firm offering specialized real estate services to clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying and investing in real estate. With annual revenue of $3.9 billion, Jones Lang LaSalle operates in 70 countries from more than 1,000 locations worldwide. On behalf of its clients, the firm provides management and real estate outsourcing services to a property portfolio of 2.6 billion square feet and completed $63 billion in sales, acquisitions and finance transactions in 2012. Its investment management business, LaSalle Investment Management, has $46.3 billion of real estate assets under management. For further information, visit www.jll.com. For further information, please visit www.jll.com