In a recent interview with Hotel News Now, Trinity Investments Managing Partner Sean Hehir details how his company is going to new places and new types of properties in its quest for growth.
NEW YORK—Trinity Investments is poised for growth, both inside its traditional markets and outside, said the company’s Managing Partner Sean Hehir.
Speaking with Hotel News Now during the 2019 NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference, Hehir said some recent changes to the company’s corporate structure, and the addition of key new personnel following the retirement of some of the company’s founding partners, open the company to a new era of growth.
Trinity’s additions include some familiar names as new partners include former Ares Management and Apollo Global Management executive Lee Neibart and Hyatt Hotels Corporation veteran Steve Haggerty.
“We’re really invigorated with the new team and excited about the opportunities we have,” Hehir said.
Those opportunities include expanding beyond the company’s traditional geographical targets around the Pacific Rim and Hawaii. Trinity recently formed a joint venture with Elliott Management Corporation and acquired the Grande Lakes Orlando Resort, he said, noting the property is the type of asset Trinity has succeeded with in the past.
“We’ve been developing this thesis for a while—buying these big box resort convention type hotels—we believe they’re really opportunistic right now,” he said.
Hehir said the company is drawn to those properties because of low supply growth, its strong relationships with brand managers and because it has the capital to make needed improvements. These types of properties have fewer potential buyers and are ripe for improvements via aggressive asset management, he said.
Growth for Trinity isn’t all pinned to big boxes, though, with the company announcing another joint venture—this time with Hotel Okura—in late 2018 to create a select-service brand in Japan called Nikko Style. He said the brand is the first of its kind in the country.
In Japan, “most of our experience has been in commercial real estate,” he said. “We opened the first foreign-controlled J-REIT on the Toyko exchange in 2003, and started a second REIT in 2005 in Tokyo. But as we were watching the tourism trends change over the years we’ve been there, we realized there was tremendous opportunity on the hospitality front.”
He believes the country has more white space in the select-service space than full service, hence Trinity’s move to pioneer the new brand.
The company’s next big opportunity for growth will be “focusing on how we raise alternate capital,” Hehir said.
“We love being operating partners to the large U.S. private equity firms … but I think as we look at raising separate managed account money, that’s an avenue of growth for us,” he said. “In May of last year, we raised a $350 million (special purpose acquisition vehicle) on the NASDAQ, which we’re busy deploying as we speak.”