Hotel Development

Heldrich Hotel Underperforms, Anomaly Among Devco Developments

This article from NorthJersey.com discusses financial difficulties being faced by the Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick. Of an approximate $107 million dollars in financing, $20 million dollars came from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority. The $20 million dollar loan was arranged by New Brunswick Development Corporation, Devco, a non-profit, to borrower Middlesex County Improvement Authority. This loan was made despite the Improvement Authority already owing $7 million in missed payments.

The Heldrich, which opened just as the economy was beginning to slow down in 2007, has struggled to bring in guests. In 2015 the hotel had an occupancy rate of 63.5% and was “so cash-strapped that the corporation had to tap about $776,000 of its own money to fund basic capital expenses”. Despite the disappointing performance of the hotel to date, Improvement Authority Spokeswoman Maria Prato said in a statement “We are optimistic that as the economics of the project continue to improve… that the project will satisfy its outstanding obligations.”

Devco, the non-profit corporation that developed the hotel, was founded in 1976 by then Johnson & Johnson Chief Executive Richard B. Sellars. Devco‘s first development project was the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Albany Street. Unable to find financing, Johnson & Johnson underwrote the loan so the project could more forward. Since then, Devco has renovated theaters, hotels, restaurants and more, and have been a part of $1.6 Billion in development in New Brunswick. Today, Devco develops, finances and conceives new projects to continue improving New Brunswick for residents and visitors alike.

 

 

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March 30, 2016