Real EstateAcquisitionsResilient Asset Class: Sandpiper Lodging Trust Grows Extended-Stay Footprint  

Resilient Asset Class: Sandpiper Lodging Trust Grows Extended-Stay Footprint  

Since its formation in 2018, Sandpiper Lodging Trust (SLT), a Richmond, Virginia-based real estate investment trust, has been working toward establishing a national footprint of extended-stay hotels and building meaningful scale in the segment. As SLT’s President and CEO Carter Rise tells LODGING, “We intend to build a ‘best-in-class’ platform of extended-stay assets that will consistently provide strong cash flows and ultimately very solid capital appreciation.”

Starting with its initial acquisition of nine WoodSpring Suites properties in 2018, SLT has selectively pursued acquisitions and ground-up development to further expand and diversify its portfolio. Today, the REIT owns 28 extended-stay hotels across nine states. In the last year alone, it added five properties, including new brands and its first hotel in Florida, which Rise calls a “strategically important market.” In January, SLT completed the acquisition of another five hotels—WoodSpring Suites located in White Marsh, Md., Greenbelt, Md., Virginia Beach, Va., and two in Baton Rouge, La.—from its affiliates Sandpiper Hospitality III, LLC and Sandpiper Hospitality IV, LLC. The latter transaction was financed largely through borrowing under its recently expanded $200 million revolving credit facility and the rollover of the majority of investor equity in the affiliated funds.

These acquisitions weren’t SLT’s only gains in 2022; the REIT just ended what Rise describes as a record year. “While our performance was positively impacted as a result of our acquisitions, occupancy remained very strong at our properties and our growth in room rate (ADR) was the biggest contributor to our revenue growth as it improved meaningfully versus the prior year,” Rise explains. Even though labor challenges and rising interest rates offset some revenue gains, SLT’s adjusted funds from operations (AFFO) reached an all-time high, he notes.

Looking at the year ahead, Rise remains optimistic. “While we have seen a slower start to 2023 regarding our occupancy, we know the extended-stay sector is a very resilient asset class. These extended-stay hotels have outperformed their nightly stay peers over the last three recessionary periods, and should the economy continue to soften in 2023, we believe SLT is very well positioned.”

Headwinds or not, Rise sees growth on the horizon. Armed with a strong balance sheet, SLT intends to capitalize on opportunities when they present themselves, most likely in the latter half of 2023. “We continue to concentrate most of our focus in those geographies where there are strong growth dynamics, i.e., states located in the Mid-Atlantic, the Southeast, and the Southwest,” he explains. “We remain very optimistic about the long-term prospects for SLT, especially within the economy and midscale sectors.”