First, it was commercial real estate: at 30%, the city has the highest office vacancy rate in the US…
… and amid an existential crisis for the city’s tech-focused tenants, finds that it can’t even sell office skyscrapers at a firesale price of 80% off the purchase price, and even in the best case, a 71% discount is as good as it gets (it got worse as we detailed in “There’s Poop Everywhere”: San Francisco’s Office District Not Only A Ghost Town, It’s Also Covered In Sh*t).
San Francisco’s tourism board launched a $6M ad campaign to overcome the city’s global reputation as a drug and crime-ridden hell hole. Six days later, the owner of two of the city’s biggest hotels announced it was abandoning them because it lost faith that the city can recover. pic.twitter.com/uaZRXWpD3R
— Michael Shellenberger (@shellenberger) June 6, 2023
Of course, it’s not just commercial real estate: residential is just as bad, with home prices in San Fran now tumbling double digits y/y, and just that other liberal disaster, Seattle, seeing home prices plunge faster.
But while we anticipate the collapse in residential housing prices to quicken, it’s really CRE where the ticking neutron bomb is to be discovered, and according to the latest horror story out of San Fran’s commercial real estate market, the owner of two of San Francisco’s biggest hotels — Hilton San Francisco Union Square and Parc 55 — has halted mortgage payments and plans to give up the two properties.
As the SF Chronicle reports, Park Hotels & Resorts said Monday that it stopped making payments on a $725 million loan due in November, handing over the keys to the property to the creditors and expects the “ultimate removal of these hotels” from its portfolio. The company said it would “work in good faith with the loan’s servicers to determine the most effective path forward.”
𝐄𝐗𝐂𝐋𝐔𝐒𝐈𝐕𝐄: Behind the scenes footage of the new Batman movie…Wait, my bad. This is San Francisco everyday.
— Kevin Dalton (@TheKevinDalton) June 2, 2023
“After much thought and consideration, we believe it is in the best interest for Park’s stockholders to materially reduce our current exposure to the San Francisco market. Now more than ever, we believe San Francisco’s path to recovery remains clouded and elongated by major challenges — both old and new,” said Thomas Baltimore Jr., CEO of Park Hotels, in a statement which could be applicable to every other liberal-controlled US metropolis.
You liberals are MONSTERS.
What you have done to San Francisco is absolutely CRIMINAL.
LIBERALISM IS DEATH to a society. pic.twitter.com/FQhtc4B4cf
— SF Conservative PATRIOT 🇺🇸 (@SF_Conservative) June 3, 2023
The 1,921-room Hilton is the city’s largest hotel and the 1,024-room Parc 55 is the fourth-largest, and together they account for around 9% of the city’s hotel stock. The hotels could potentially be taken over by lenders or sold to a new group as part of the foreclosure process, although it is unclear who would want to put even one dollar of equity into property that will more than likely redefault within a few years.
San Francisco before the Liberals took over. pic.twitter.com/wT3IvERwq2
— D. Scott @eclipsethis2003 (@eclipsethis2003) June 2, 2023
That’s because there is no quick fix to San Fran’s long list of obstacles which not only a record high office vacancy of around 30%, but also worries over street conditions (and the amount of feces covering them), a lower rate of return to office in comparison with other cities (because woke snowflakes are naturally advantaged to work from home of course) and “a weaker than expected citywide convention calendar through 2027 that will negatively impact business and leisure demand,” Baltimore Jr., said.
Park Hotels said San Francisco’s convention-driven demand is anticipated to be 40% lower between 2023 and 2027 in comparison with the pre-pandemic average.
San Francisco Travel, the city’s convention bureau, forecasts Moscone Center conventions to account for over 670,000 hotel room nights this year, higher than 2018’s 660,868 room nights but far beneath 2019’s record-high 967,956. And weaker convention attendance is expected for each following year through 2030.
Park Hotels & Resorts foresees to save over $200 million in capital expenditures over the next five years after letting go of the hotels, and to give a special dividend to shareholders of $150 million to $175 million. The company’s exposure will move away from San Francisco toward the higher-growth Hawaii market (good luck with that).
Parc 55 is a block from Westfield San Francisco Centre (the mall where Nordstrom is also departing), and the block where Banko Brown, an alleged shoplifter, was killed in a shooting outside a Walgreens in April. Nearby blocks are also full of empty storefronts, as tourist and local foot traffic hasn’t fully recovered and probably never will.
Park Hotels explaining why they stopped paying their loans on two San Francisco Hotels:
“San Francisco is a toxic wasteland that is in terminal decline.”
— Wall Street Silver (@WallStreetSilv) June 6, 2023