Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Norman Residence Inn Expects Occupancy Level to Increase

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Norman Residence Inn Expects Occupancy Level to Increase

Article excerpt

Based on current projections, the Residence Inn by Marriott in Norman should achieve an occupancy level of 70 to 75 percent within a year, said George Boyer, one of the owners.

As one of four partners in Napert Hotel Venture I which purchased the 125-suite property for $4.5 million in February from First National Bank of Bartlesville, Boyer was in Norman for a grand opening celebration.

Market projections on the property were difficult to achieve, because it was in "distress" when it was acquired in February after a foreclosure action, said Boyer. Since then the partners have spent $1.35 million on renovation and construction.

Boyer said the operation is anticipated to reach a "break even point" by the end of the first year.

The partners expect 15 percent of sales to be derived from attendance of sporting events at the University of Oklahoma. Additionally, a large percentage of occupancy is calculated to come from business activities of such companies as Nexrad, Hitachi, Shaklee Products and the U.S. Postal Service.

"You have to base your projections on experience and the performance of similar properties," said Boyer.

Financing for the purchase of the five-year-old, 100,000 square-foot facility was obtained through Massachusetts Financial Services which has been involved in other partnerships of the Hartford, Conn., real estate firm, said Boyer.

"We're about a year ahead of the game (in realizing a return on the investment in the Residence Inn) because we didn't have to deal with zoning and other problems as would have occurred if we had constructed the project," he said.

Citing "affordable real estate prices" in Oklahoma, Boyer said that the purchase price of the hotel was lower than the replacement cost would have been, particularly in comparison to East Coast commercial properties.

"Real estate values in Connecticut alone have risen 40 percent within the last 18 months," he said. …

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