Lowenstein Sandler was honored at Project Finance's Deal of the Year ceremony in New York City for its role as lead counsel to Lend Lease Americas Inc. in the first-ever privatization of hotels on U.S. Army bases, a deal that was named Project Finance's 2009 "North American Real Estate Deal of the Year." The award, which recognizes innovation and achievement in the global project finance market, was presented at a reception held on March 4, 2010.
"Lowenstein Sandler served as our counsel on this landmark deal and their lawyers were integral to our success," said Gary Buechler, CEO of Lend Lease Americas Inc. "Lowenstein's real estate and corporate lawyers provided the strategic, practical and forward-thinking advice that was necessary for a deal of this scope and complexity to close."
The Privatization of Army Lodging (PAL) project covers the privatization of 3,200 existing hotel rooms in 62 lodging facilities across 10 installations in eight states. In the first phase of the deal, which closed in August 2009, more than $125 million of privately placed debt and equity was invested in the project to upgrade and refurbish the existing lodging portfolio. The second and third phases are expected to add approximately $350-450 million in additional capital to finance further renovations and new construction, ultimately leading to an expansion of the project to more than 4,200 hotel rooms. The hotels in the PAL project are located on Army installations in Fort Rucker, Alabama; Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; Fort Riley, Kansas; Fort Polk, Louisiana; Fort Sill, Oklahoma; Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Sam Houston, Texas; Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona; Fort Myer, Virginia; and Fort Shafter/Tripler Army Medical Center, Hawaii. The first phase of the project is expected to be completed in 2011.
In the transaction's first phase, Lowenstein Sandler's real estate attorneys negotiated a 50-year ground lease, and municipal services and utility agreements with the Army, a long-term portfolio hotel management agreement with InterContinental Hotels, and construction loans and lock box /intercreditor agreements with three different institutional lenders. The Lowenstein team was led by Edward J. (Ted) Hunter, who chairs the firm's Real Estate Practice Group, and included David Tlusty, Norman Spindel, Brian Silikovitz, Jessica Plinio, Inshirah Muhammad and Julie Boas.