Petros PACE Finance Featured in Omaha World-Herald Following Funding of $2.3M Loan for Hotel Conversion Project in Omaha
By: Cindy Gonzalez
A midtown Omaha hotel property that in recent years can’t seem to stick with an identity now has a new owner and is poised to become a Four Points by Sheraton.
The latest buyer of the six-story structure at 330 N. 30th St., Lucky Omaha Hospitality LLC, plans to revamp the interior and add an open-to-the-public restaurant and bar that didn’t exist at that spot before.
Owners say the face-lift to the 120-room hotel will amount to about $7 million.
It comes as a broader strip north of 30th and Dodge Street undergoes other shifts that have beckoned new residents to the area.
For one, the former Creighton University Medical Center is converting into the state’s largest single structure of market-rate apartments. The Atlas complex will have more than 700 apartments, a lagoon and a retail corridor that includes a coffee shop.
Related to that project are proposed walking and biking trails (assisted by the city and Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District) around the lagoon that will be open to the public. In addition to enlivening the area, officials believe the pathways will help connect the Atlas campus with the surrounding Gifford Park neighborhood to the west and Mutual of Omaha’s Midtown Crossing to the southwest.
A new elementary school for the Gifford Park area is also planned to open west of 30th, at 32nd and Burt Streets, as early as next school year.
Chris Patel of the Illinois-based Nexgen Hotels, which is the parent company of Lucky Omaha Hospitality, said his group was unaware of the hospital transformation when it bought the future Four Points by Sheraton in late 2016. But he sees the Atlas as a positive sign of growth and interest in the immediate area.
The Sheraton is Nexgen’s first project in Omaha, Patel said, although it already is planning to open another hotel in the downtown area. He said his group was impressed by the expanding University of Nebraska Medical Center campus, which he expects will continue to bring guests and visitors to the area.
“Omaha itself is a great city,” Patel said, adding that he has visited multiple times for sports events. “We’ve seen the city grow. It’s been growing very quickly. The medical center is a few blocks from us. We’re in midtown. With everything going on, this was the right fit for us.”
Patel said he also researched the area’s hotel industry, including bookings at the nearby Element Omaha at Midtown Crossing, which also is in the Starwood and Marriott family, which owns the Sheraton brand. He believes that the new Four Points by Sheraton could capitalize on overflow.
He expects the new Sheraton to open by spring.
Now 33 years old, the structure sits on about two acres and is to be updated with new carpeting, new restrooms and new amenities. Patel said a fitness room will be enlarged and redone, as will the lobby. The new restaurant, to be called Midtown Tavern, is to serve American cuisine.
Patel believes that the contemporary makeover, along with the addition of food and beverage, is key to success. “We are pretty much taking this property back to its bones,” he said.
The brick exterior is to be power washed, but largely would remain the same except for new signage. The parking lot is to be replaced, Patel said, and landscaping added.
Shuttered since January 2017 for the makeover, the 62,700-square-foot structure previously was the University Inn at Midtown Crossing. Before that, it was a Comfort Inn. In 2011, records show that it was a Best Western Seville Plaza. That’s after it had been a Holiday Inn Express. Among other names, it also has been a Park Inn.
The ongoing renovation is boosted by a $2.3 million Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE, loan aimed at helping energy-efficiency upgrades. Petros PACE Finance and PACE Sage Capital financed the loan, which marks Omaha’s second PACE-assisted project.
The relatively new PACE financing mechanism aims to encourage economic development, said Rob Shear of PACE Sage Capital. The financing tool is becoming more well-known and widespread, he said, with the cities of Lincoln and Bellevue recently opening the path to use the financing there.
Energy system upgrades in eligible projects are paid for with the private PACE loans that in turn are paid off through an extra assessment on the building’s property taxes. The extra assessment stays with the property, even if sold.
Theoretically, PACE loans will be paid off with savings realized from lower utility bills.
Originally published on Omaha World Herald