VIRGINIA BEACH — Local developer Bruce Thompson has sold two prominent Oceanfront hotels to Richmond-based company Shamin Hotels, according to filed deeds of sale.
Thompson’s development company Gold Key | PHR sold its iconic 31st Street Hilton at the Oceanfront for $36 million. As part of the deal, Gold Key also sold Neptune Park (home of the 26-foot-tall King Neptune statue), retail shops, a parking garage, and pedestrian bridge for a total of $53.7 million.
Gold Key also sold the Hilton Garden Inn, just three blocks from the 31st Street Hilton, for $34.4 million.
The nearly $90 million sale closed on Aug. 31. and generated more than a dozen separate deeds, detailing the sales of the hotels, park, retail, bridge, and parking garages.
With the city on high alert last week because of the threat of Hurricane Florence, Ron Agnor, the city’s assessor said his office has not had the chance to fully analyze the sales documents. He added they will soon, and that the deals do not appear to be controversial in a legal sense.
“These sales appear to be ‘arms-length transactions,’” said Agnor, meaning neither was pressured to sell or buy and both companies appear unrelated. “We would call this a ‘valid sale’ and can use its data for further analysis.”
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The hotel complex opened in 2003, according to Virginia Beach Development Authority’s website, and anchored the city’s “Laskin Gateway” project. The 31st Street Hilton, accompanying parking garage, and park were a part of public-private partnership between the VBDA and Thirty First Street, LLC., a Gold Key company.
VBDA retains ownership of parking and retail spaces located in the 31st Street parking garage, which the authority will rent to Shamin.
The sales do not indicate that Gold Key is beginning to exit the Virginia Beach Oceanfront hotel market. That’s because on Aug. 15, a company named ROTB, LLC. — determined by Agnor’s office to be another Gold Key company — bought the Days Inn by Wyndham on Atlantic Avenue.
ROTB also bought a cluster of nearby retails shops, a parking lot on Pacific Avenue, and office space on 25th Street for a total of more than $20 million, Agnor said.
Neither Gold Key nor Shamin responded to requests for comment, and emails to Dorothy Wood, chairwoman of the VBDA, were not immediately returned.
Although the 31st Street Hilton and the Garden Inn were both sold for precisely their assessed values, Agnor said the sales of those properties won’t factor into future assessments.
“Ownership will not change the assessment — it’s the data derived from the sales and operating incomes based on those sales, along with associated investor information, that determines assessed values,” Agnor said. “We make our decisions based on market driven information, not sales information.”