Henry Vickers once told me that the closing of a hotel deal was the icing on the cake. His passion was in steering a transaction through the often turbulent waters of negotiations.
Vickers, the director of AEW Capital Management, died Monday. He was one of the quintessential “money guys” in the hotel industry. But what set him apart from many of the others was his lack of bluster. He was a soft-spoken, good guy who let his actions carry the day. His insightful, calm and collected demeanor was a big reason why so many people respected him.
View Henry G. Vickers obituary.
The sad part of him passing just two months before his 54th birthday is that the hotel industry is on the verge of a transaction binge that someone like Vickers would appreciate and thrive in. As the industry begins to recover from its two-year economic Armageddon, the expectation here is that 2011 will eventually be looked upon as the year during which deals took the spotlight.
And of course, the Cornell alumnus (class of 1979) was ahead of the curve. The company announced in December that AEW teamed with Aspen Hotel Management Group to acquire a portfolio of three boutique hotels located in the Union Square area of San Francisco—Hotel Frank, Hotel Metropolis and Hotel Vertigo. AEW acquired the assets on behalf of AEW Partners VI, L.P., the sixth of a series of real estate opportunity funds managed by AEW.
• Read “Aspen, AEW join forces on three-hotel deal.”
• View video of Henry Vickers from ALIS 2009.
Henry was one of those guys who didn’t pursue the spotlight. But when he was in it, he shined. Whether it be on a high-profile panel discussion at one of the industry’s investment conferences or a one-on-one interview, he always presented himself as a gentleman. More than once he helped a certain reporter better understand what a specific term meant or how a situation might affect the overall industry.
Henry Vickers was a deal-maker extraordinaire and his expertise will be missed throughout the hotel industry. Our sincerest condolences go to his family and friends. He can’t be replaced, but if we can learn from his humility and knowledge, I’m pretty certain he’d consider that a better accomplishment than any deal he ever closed.