REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT
Hines | September 23, 2022
Hines, the global real estate investment, development, and property manager, today announced a partnership with Forbes Travel Guide to define five-star hospitality standards at Hines buildings, making it the first commercial real estate firm to work with Forbes Travel Guide on a global scale.
Hines and Forbes Travel Guide will co-develop custom service standards for the firm's 415 global office and multi-family properties, and emphasize how hospitality-inspired service can bring greater value to tenants and residents. As commercial real estate standards rapidly change, and people seek more collaborative, creative, and curated spaces, the partnership signifies Hines' commitment to creating a consistent customer experience that scales with the firm and brings the company's culture to life.
"Real estate owners and managers have typically prioritized asset value over experience. We're seeing the value in both ROI and ROE, or return on experience, and see it as the most important metric of tomorrow, Enhanced customer experience driven by five-star standards not only increases asset value, but helps people feel more valued, connected, and inspired in our spaces. We selected Forbes Travel Guide because they are the trusted partner of the world's leading hospitality brands and share our passion for creating meaningful experiences for clients."
-Whitney Burns, vice president of global client strategy at Hines
In addition to the co-created service standards, the partnership between Hines and Forbes Travel Guide will include a substantive training program encompassing both in-person training customized to the Hines portfolio and scalable online training. The new service standards will be implemented in 2023.
Creator of the original Five-Star rating system, Forbes Travel Guide is the only independent, global rating agency for the hospitality industry. With over 60 years in the hospitality sector, Forbes Travel Guide is the global authority on five-star service, providing world-class, professional development resources to many of the world's most beloved hospitality brands including the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide Hotels & Resorts, as well as other organizations that make exceptional service a pillar of their business model.
Now, more than ever before, people are emphasizing the experience and purpose behind where they choose to spend their time. Our partnership with Hines is a testament to the firm's commitment to innovation and placemaking and signifies a new industry standard in the operation of commercial real estate, said Hermann Elger, Forbes Travel Guide CEO.
Hines is a privately owned global real estate investment firm founded in 1957 with a presence in 285 cities in 28 countries. Hines oversees investment assets under management totaling approximately $90.3 billion¹. In addition, Hines provides third-party property-level services to 373 properties totaling 114.2 million square feet. Historically, Hines has developed, redeveloped or acquired approximately 1,530 properties, totaling over 511 million square feet. The firm currently has more than 198 developments underway around the world. With extensive experience in investments across the risk spectrum and all property types, and a foundational commitment to ESG, Hines is one of the largest and most-respected real estate organizations in the world.
About Forbes Travel Guide
Forbes Travel Guide, the global authority on genuine Five-Star service, provides world-class professional services to the hospitality industry and other service-oriented businesses such as luxury retail, residential, healthcare and private clubs through bespoke training solutions, evaluation services and custom service standards. Started as Mobil Travel Guide in 1958, the company created the first Five-Star rating system in the United States. Today, in addition to providing professional services, FTG is the only independent, global rating system for luxury hotels, restaurants and spas. FTG's prestigious annual Star Awards can only be earned through the company's objective, in-person inspection process.
REAL ESTATE TECHNOLOGY
Matterport Inc | July 11, 2022
Matterport, Inc. the leading enterprise and real estate digital twin company driving the digital transformation of the built world, today announced the acquisition of VHT, Inc., known as VHT Studios, a U.S.-based real estate marketing company that offers brokerages and agents digital solutions to promote and sell properties. This transaction brings together VHT Studios’ visual media services with the immersive Matterport 3D Digital Twin platform to elevate the buying experience for home buyers while simplifying the process of creating comprehensive marketing packages for brokers and agents. With this acquisition, Matterport aims to increase adoption of digital twin technology and expand further into the real estate industry while adding marketing services for other key markets such as commercial real estate, travel and hospitality, and the retail sector.
Matterport’s acquisition of VHT Studios provides real estate brokerages and their professionals access to an expanded selection of marketing services and expertise they need to effectively market and promote properties. These include high-end photography, drone imagery, floor plans, virtual tours, and other marketing services. When combined with Matterport digital twins and collaboration tools, the newly expanded solution not only helps brokerages and agents save time with an easy-to-order and comprehensive source for their digital marketing needs but also reduces their costs with comprehensive marketing packages along with flexible, optional add-ons. This all-in-one marketing solution provides one of the richest and most compelling digital experiences for property seekers and has been proven to drive increased sales for brokerages and agents.
“We’re thrilled to welcome the VHT Studios team to Matterport along with the talent and industry expertise they bring,” said RJ Pittman, Chief Executive Officer at Matterport. “When we looked at VHT Studios and the work they do, it was a natural fit to unite our efforts to reimagine the fragmented process that was in place for brokers and agents to list properties, and prospective buyers to view them. We are not only excited for how we can transform the customer experience in the real estate industry, but also how we can apply VHT Studios’ expertise to our growing enterprise business as demand for digital twin technology continues to surge.”
“We are excited to welcome VHT Studios, a market leader in real estate digital marketing technologies, to Matterport today. While we make strategic investments to expand our business, we remain committed to conscientiously managing our balance sheet of approximately $600 million in cash and short- and long-term investments as of March 31, 2022. Further, having integrated the Enview acquisition earlier this year, our team is looking forward to what we expect will be another successful integration,” said JD Fay, Chief Financial Officer of Matterport.
“What makes this acquisition unique is how complementary our services are to one another,” said Brian Balduf, CEO of VHT Studios. “In today’s market, buyers need to move quickly on a property and often only have one opportunity, or less, to view it in person. A listing that features high-quality digital content and immersive 3D technology is a transformative experience that empowers buyers to make more confident decisions, faster. Together we believe our services can help move more purchase decisions online by combining rich property information and the ability to virtually inspect, measure, and experience a space from anywhere, anytime, as many times as needed.”
The all-in-one marketing solution that brings together VHT Studios’ and Matterport’s services is expected to be available through Matterport’s Capture Services during the third quarter this year. The acquisition will enable more data to be trained on the machine learning systems acquired through Enview and whose data insights will be incorporated into Matterport’s Cortex Artificial Intelligence engine.
VHT Studios has helped more than 200,000 real estate professionals sell more than $200 billion in properties since the company’s founding in 1998. Seven of the top 10 brokers1 in the United States are customers of VHT Studios, including Baird & Warner, Coldwell Banker, Compass, Corcoran Group, Douglas Elliman, and more.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Canaccord Genuity served as the exclusive financial advisor to VHT Studios.
Matterport, Inc. (Nasdaq: MTTR) is leading the digital transformation of the built world. Our groundbreaking spatial data platform turns buildings into data to make nearly every space more valuable and accessible. Millions of buildings in more than 177 countries have been transformed into immersive Matterport digital twins to improve every part of the building lifecycle from planning, construction, and operations to documentation, appraisal and marketing. Learn more at Matterport.com and visit our Discover page to browse a collection of digital twins captured by our customers.
REAL ESTATE TECHNOLOGY
FAIRSTEAD | July 26, 2022
Fairstead, a purpose-driven, vertically integrated real estate company committed to sustainable development and the creation and preservation of high-quality housing, today announced the acquisition of the historic Aurora Apartments (Aurora) tower in the Tobin Hill neighborhood of San Antonio. Located at 509 Howard Street, the 11-story building comprises 105 apartments that are home to low-income senior residents. Fairstead will invest $15 million to rehabilitate Aurora Apartments while preserving Aurora's affordability and historic character long-term.
The renovations will modernize the interior homes of the 92-year-old property and preserve its historic façade as well as original mosaic tile flooring and walls, historical interior doors, and hardware. Renovations will upgrade the infrastructure of the building including a new emergency generator, electrical panels and main switchgear, installing a sprinkler system, two new elevators, and new roofing. The apartments will also be upgraded with new Energy Star appliances, kitchens and bathrooms, and HVAC units. Construction is expected to begin this summer.
"Fairstead is proud to be stewards of historic properties across the country, and we are bringing our approach to preserving both history and affordability to the Aurora Apartments, By expanding our footprint in Texas, we can ensure that its critical affordable housing stock is not only protected but improved and modernized. Our plan to overhaul the homes at Aurora will ensure our senior residents can age in place with dignity – something we are committed to doing nationwide."
Allan Izzo, Director, Development at Fairstead
Fairstead is financing the rehabilitation in partnership with the Las Varas Public Facility Corporation, a nonprofit managed by the San Antonio Housing Authority, the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, Capital One, N.A., and Boston Financial.
"About half of the residents receiving housing assistance from SAHA are elderly on a fixed income," said Tim Alcott, the San Antonio Housing Authority Chief Legal and Real Estate Officer. "We celebrate partnerships that help maintain affordable housing options for the families we serve and provide a place of security."
"Boston Financial is proud to have partnered with Fairstead on the preservation of Aurora Apartments in San Antonio, Texas. Our investment has helped Fairstead to modernize 105 units of housing for the residents of this historic community, especially seniors, and preserved much-needed affordable homes for the region," said Stephen Napolitano, Senior Vice President, Boston Financial. "We believe in Fairstead's commitment to building vibrant communities across the US, and our work together reinforces our own vision to create a future where everyone has a home, one investment at a time."
"This renovation will help bring transformative change to Aurora Apartments with fully renovated unit interiors and common areas, as well as accessibility and energy efficiency improvements" said Evan Williams, senior vice president of Agency Finance at Capital One. "By leveraging our relationships with Fairstead and Freddie Mac, as well as the rest of the development team, Capital One was able to arrange an index lock, which mitigated the risk of interest volatility and ensured the project benefited from a 2.92% treasury rate."
Fairstead is partnering with the non-profit Rainbow Housing Assistance to provide much-needed social services to residents through the company's commitment to Community Impact.
"Rainbow is grateful for the opportunity to partner with Fairstead at Aurora Apartments. We are excited to bring valuable programs and services to the residents of the community and promote social and economic advancements while ensuring tenant stabilization," said Flynann Janisse, President and Executive Director of Rainbow Housing Assistance Corporation. "Rainbow will offer a variety of programs targeting financial literacy, credit enhancements, education, ESL, career development and immediate employment. We will establish tailored programing to meet the unique needs of each individual and family that calls Aurora Apartments home. We look forward to lifting lives in partnership with Fairstead."
Built in 1930 as a luxury hotel in the Neo-Gothic architectural style, Aurora is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Known for its hand-carved fireplaces and grand common spaces, the vintage 11-story apartment building will remain a pet-friendly place to call home. Half of the building's units are reserved for residents making up to 50 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) and the other half are for households making up to 60 percent AMI.
This news follows Fairstead's recent acquisition of the 160-unit affordable housing complex Gateway Apartments at Lake Jackson in the Greater Houston metropolitan area. Fairstead is renovating and expanding Gateway's amenity offerings, including a fitness room and playground, and is transforming the property's outdoor recreation spaces to create a more connected community for residents.
Fairstead is a purpose-driven vertically integrated real estate developer specializing in creating sustainable, high-quality housing. The firm's national footprint includes more than $6 billion in assets and identified pipeline. With offices in New York, Maryland, and South Carolina, Fairstead's team manages 90+ communities across the country and runs its comprehensive real estate platform, which includes acquisitions and development, venture capital investments in prop tech, design and construction, energy and sustainability, property management, marketing, and leasing. The firm also administers one of the industry's most proactive community impact programs to provide on-site support services to residents.