Real Estate Rumblings
Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, is buying the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Houston, and is expected to upgrade the property, considered one of the finest hotels in Texas.
Located at 1300 Lamar Street, near Discovery Green park, the luxury hotels features 404 rooms and suites and 64 rental apartments. The hotel, ranked as a AAA Five-Diamond property, is home to the highly regarded Quattro restaurant.
The price was not disclosed and transaction is anticipated to close on Oct. 1.
Gates’ Cascade Investments is buying the Four Seasons from Maritz, Wolff & Co., which has owned it since 2000. The price was not disclosed and transaction is anticipated to close on Oct. 1.
The hotel will continue to operate with the Four Seasons brand. Gates’ investment arm is part owner of the Toronto-based Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, which is owned jointly by long-term shareholders Cascade Investment, Kingdom Holding Company and Triples Holdings. The hotel company recently announced the appointment of J. Allen Smith as CEO.
“We have great faith in Houston, particularly with its strong role in the global energy business,” said Michael Larson, chief investment officer of Cascade Investment. “Likewise, because we are very confident in the new executive leadership at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and the exceptional in-place management team at this property, along with the enduring value of the Four Seasons brand, we see a compelling real estate investment opportunity here.
"We look forward to Four Seasons Houston continuing as the local market leader and maintaining its unique position in the Houston community.”
The Four Seasons opened in Houston in 1982 on a block bounded by Lamar, Caroline, Austin and Dallas streets in what was then considered the sleepy side of downtown. But there has been considerable growth in the part of downtown over the last decade.
Downtown hotel occupancy rates are high and several new hotels are under development in downtown, including the 1,000-room Marriott Marquis, about four or five blocks away from the Four Seasons.