Welker Property Management
Welker Property Management – Sandpiper Hospitality All-In on Growing Its Extended Stay Hotel Portfolio. The company manages 52 extended stay hotels, will manage 25 for Wyndham’s ‘Project ECHO’
Sandpiper Lodging Trust has assumed management of the WoodSpring Suites Orlando Clarcona — Maitland after the company acquired it for $6.5 million in February. (/Jay Welker)
Welker Property Management
ATLANTA – Sandpiper Hospitality is focusing on increasing the number of extended-stay hotels in its management portfolio, including by partnering with Wyndham Hotels & Resorts to manage 25 hotels under its new, unnamed extended-stay brand.
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Founded in 2012, Sandpiper Hospitality has built its foundation in Richmond, Virginia to be a top leader in the management of extended stay hotels.
Speaking during a break at the Hunter Hotel Investment Conference, President and CEO Jim Darter described the extended stay segment as “ripe with opportunity.” Of the 53 hotels the company manages today, 52 of them are extended stays.
The allure of extended-stay hotels is due in part to the resilience and risk-adverse nature the segment has demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“On COVID … our hotels really haven’t been hurt that much,” Darter said. “The first few months were spotty, but then it bounced back. By the time we got to June 2020, we were already beating 2019’s numbers. It’s been nothing but up since then.”
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Sandpiper Hospitality’s management portfolio began with extended-stay hotels in the economy segment, then ventured into mid-range and is now introducing higher-scale properties.
Darter said Sandpiper Hospitality’s foundation was also built to be an entrepreneurial company, focused on what it could do itself; however, his most fruitful partnerships have been and continue to be with hotel brands.
He said the company has grown exponentially between 2018 and 2020 in terms of the number of hotels and revenue from its hotels in percentage terms.
“We don’t have thousands of hotels, but [we’ve gone from] 17 hotels to 53 in the last few years, and we’re doing it largely through third-party management [contracts],” he said. “About a third of our portfolio is now managed by third parties. We have some great clients who sing our praises and we sing their praises.”
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Wyndham Hotels & Resorts on March 22 announced its new extended-stay economy brand, operating under the working title “Project ECHO,” with Richmond-based real estate investment trust Sandpiper Lodging Trust taking over the construction of 25 of the first 50 new construction projects. . The brand plans to have at least one of those open in the next 12 months and has one under review right now. Sandpiper Hospitality will operate those 25 hotels, while another group will take on the other half.
Sandpiper Hospitality manages the entire portfolio of its affiliate, Sandpiper Lodging Trust, as well as hotels for non-affiliated third parties. Darter said this is his company’s first partnership with Wyndham.
“We worked very closely to help them design the brand. They were incredible listeners and worked with us from a design standpoint and the industry standards standpoint,” he said.
“We see this as a brand new relationship, not only to develop hotels, but for Sandpiper Hospitality to manage more and more Wyndham properties,” he said.
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His company currently has four Wyndham-branded hotels that it plans to open to a third-party client in the next few months, including a dual-brand La Quinta and Hawthorn Suites.
Sandpiper Lodging Trust acquired two WoodSpring Suites extended-stay hotels in February in Orlando, Fla.: WoodSpring Suites Orlando Clarcona – Maitland for $6.5 million and the WoodSpring Suites Orlando Clermont – Minneola for $8.5 million, according to property data. Sandpiper Hospitality manages both.
“Almost everything we work on with third-party clients is [in] Texas, Florida, the Carolinas and a few places in between. We also feel very good about the west coast,” he said.
Darter said he noticed that associates at his hotels wanted a way to do more within the communities in which they operate. As a result, the company launched its “Do More Good” community service platform in 2021.
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As part of this program, Sandpiper staff donated 600 hours of community service work and put together care packages. Employees at all of the company’s hotels can hold events for charities in their area that need help.
“It’s a win-win, where our associates win because they’re participating in something they care about … and it also creates a little more stickiness for our organization—for [staff] to say, ‘I’m part of it.’ from a company that cares,” he added.
Sandpiper Hospitality believes in training, mentoring and career development, Darter said, which is why his company became affiliated with Virginia Tech’s hospitality school this past year and launched a student training program.
The company has assigned its first student apprentice to participate in a formal training program across the country, spending time at the corporate office as well as its hotels. Launching this program during the pandemic has helped give students options for real-world experience, Darter said.
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“We are going to be able to provide [the trainee] with a general manager position one year [after] he comes out of hospitality school to run his own hotel,” he said.
The program allows students to find their niche and passion by trying different departments within the hotel, he said. The company just hired its second apprentice, who so far is gravitating toward revenue management, he said.CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas—On Aug. 4, our community’s attention turned to the former Water Color Apartment complex on Weber Road and Caravelle as a Corpus Christi -police officer was shot on the property.
The suspect was caught the next day, but the story raised questions about the safety of residents at the complex.
The problem solvers reached out to Welker Properties, the company that bought the property in June, to ask them what they plan to do to make it a better place to live.
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Welker Properties took ownership of this 783-unit property on the city’s south side in June, and according to a statement, they are investing $10 million to revitalize the place.
Darius Bouldin hopes the problems he has in his unit are part of the revival. He says he moved in in April, but his air conditioning hasn’t been working since June.
The thermostat in his unit read 85 degrees when we were there. Bouldin claims he made management aware of this several times.
“They say ‘okay, we’ll take care of it’. Take my information. ‘We’ll get somebody there. We’ll get to it,’ and then they get to it like 2-3 weeks later,” he told the Problem Solvers.
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Meanwhile, he runs two fans, driving up his electricity bill just to try to stay cool.
He has other maintenance issues that also need attention, such as no power in the electrical outlets in his toilet.
Chad Edwards with Welker Properties says they inherited an enormous amount of deferred maintenance with this purchase, but insists they are being addressed daily. In fact, in a statement sent to the problem solvers, Welker Properties says “if a tenant has an outstanding issue that was reported to previous ownership, we ask that they come back to the leasing office and report again in writing to ensure that we aware of and addressing any lingering issues. Several current residents have noted that this is the case.”
According to data from the Corpus Christi Police Department, from 2018 through August of this year, they received more than 2,100 calls from the property. This year alone, the department received 59 calls about suspicious activity on the property, and eight calls of shots fired.
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After the shooting incident on August 4, Welker Properties’ statement says “tenant screening is also stricter and in line with competition.”
Alicia Gomez is a former resident who claims she repeatedly told management about mold and air conditioning problems in her unit, but when maintenance didn’t fix it, even after she claims she sent them notices, she broke her lease and pulled out, which she was told was within her legal right.
“If they don’t fix it by a certain time, they have to fix it according to law,” she told us. “And if they don’t, you can break your lease.” She says Mark Gonzales at the Trade Center told her this information.
The Texas Property Code Section 92 states “(1) after the landlord sends a certified letter requesting maintenance or repairs … you must … give the tenant 7 days for a response.”
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If there is still no response, “(3) the tenant can terminate the lease … fix the problem themselves and deduct the cost from your rent … or get a court order to make the repairs.”
We visited Darius Bouldin again last week. He was happy to report that later on the same day the troubleshooters visited him, October 12, maintenance crews arrived and fixed his air conditioning and some of the other problems he was having. BNA Associates is a Nashville, TN real estate development company founded in 2009 that targets real estate projects that have unique competitive advantages in their respective markets. BNA focuses on hotels, restaurants, multifamily, retail and mixed-use projects. What makes BNA successful is the level of creativity and practicality brought to meet market demand. By identifying both social and economic goals, BNA strives to develop properties that stand out and outperform the market. Our niche is to find unique
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