The Wardman Group Acquires the Bershires’ Seven Hills Inn, Selects Scout Hotel & & Resort Management as Operator
LENOX, Mass. – June 25, 2018 – The Wardman Group has acquired Seven Hills Inn, a historic, 57-room hotel in Lenox, Massachusetts—just minutes from the legendary Tanglewood music festival and countless other cultural and natural attractions. The Washington, D.C.-based real estate investment firm has engaged Scout Hotel & Resort Management to operate the inn, which has played host to luminaries from Leonard Bernstein to Dave Brubeck, along with family travelers, corporate groups, and couples seeking a romantic getaway or an unforgettable wedding venue in the heart of the Berkshires.
The Wardman Group purchased Seven Hills Inn from its previous owners on June 15. “This property is a textbook example of what we’re looking to acquire. We were able to buy the hotel at a substantial discount to replacement cost, and we see tremendous amount of upside with marketing and operational enhancements, and with our planned $2.2 million renovation,” said Thad Paul, founder and CEO of The Wardman Group.
“We are honored to have the opportunity to partner with The Wardman Group once again,” added Robin Kirk, president of Scout Hotel & Resort Management, which also operates Ocean Gate Resort in Boothbay, Maine, on behalf of Wardman. “Seven Hills Inn is a distinctive addition to our portfolio of historic resorts and adds yet another world-class New England destination for our guests. We are committed to managing the inn in a way that both honors its legacy and appeals to the interests and needs of discerning travelers today.”
Set on 26 acres of sprawling lawn and gardens, Seven Hills Inn offers 57 guest accommodations in three buildings - the original 1910-built Manor House, the Carriage House, and the Terrace Building. Amenities include private baths, complimentary breakfast, a swimming pool, kitchenettes in select units, and WiFi access. The inn’s 5,000 square feet of meeting and event space includes a formal dining room, parlor, and two expansive banquet rooms ideal for elegant weddings. Each of the four rooms features step-out access to a wide veranda overlooking the gardens. Seven Hills Inn will be enhanced with a comprehensive renovation in late 2018 that will bring welcome updates while retaining its historic ambiance and charm.
Seven Hills Inn’s roots extend back to the 18th century as a modest farmhouse, which was expanded in 1885 by Robert Chapin to become Norwood, the first of the Berkshire Cottages. Celebrated author and socialite Edith Wharton built her own mansion next door. In 1911, Bostonian Emily Spencer undertook an extensive renovation that doubled its size, and gave it the name Shipton Court. The mansion was converted to an inn and given its current name in 1951, and it has catered to the international performers and music-loving audiences of Tanglewood, summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, ever since.
In addition to Tanglewood, Seven Hills Inn is just minutes from a wealth of cultural attractions, including Shakespeare & Company, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Theatre, and the Norman Rockwell Museum, as well as spectacular countryside for hiking, biking and other outdoor pursuits. The hotel is adjacent to Edith Wharton’s The Mount, a well-known Gilded Age mansion in Lenox. For more information, visit www.sevenhillsinn.com.
SOUTHPORT — Thad Paul, purchaser of Ocean Gate Resort at 70 Ocean Gate Road in Southport, sees opportunity in the Boothbay Region's growing visitor market.
Paul, who heads up The Wardman Group, a real estate investment firm in Washington, D.C., purchased the property for an undisclosed sum from the GEM Hospitality Group, which is headed up by Frank Gaynor. The sale, which closed Dec. 1, 2017, was brokered on behalf of both buyer and seller by Nicholas Farrell and Roger Daigle of Daigle Commercial Group in Portland.
Daigle said that he and his group have long been active in selling hotel and resort properties in the midcoast region, including the Boothbay peninsula. A previous sale that he and his associates brokered was the Linekin Bay Resort in Boothbay Harbor in December 2015.
The Ocean Gate deal had its roots a couple of years ago, Daigle said.
Ocean Gate Resort had been of some interest to another potential buyer, who approached Daigle about buying a resort. That prompted Daigle to ask Gaynor if he would consider selling his property. As it turned out, the first potential buyer moved on to other listings, but Gaynor commissioned Daigle's firm to prepare a market valuation, which came in favorably. Gaynor posted the resort with Daigle, which listed it at $5.9 million.
"The rest is history," said Daigle, adding that his firm sells more than 85% of its listings. Daigle and his colleagues had shown midcoast properties to Thad Paul and knew that he was in the market for an oceanfront resort.
A resort with a range of amenities
Built in 1956, the 65-unit property is on 33 acres and has 1,400 feet of ocean frontage and recreational facilities that include a heated pool and hot tub, floating dock with kayaks and canoes, nine-hole miniature golf course, as well as tennis and basketball courts.
Gaynor owned and operated the hotel for 11 years.
Reached by phone in Washington, Paul said he started The Wardman Group two years ago to focus primarily on lodging acquisitions. Along with the Southport property, he also owns a senior housing facility in South Carolina and two small hotels in the Florida Keys. He started the company after a career in hotel administration and general real estate investment.
Paul has traveled to Maine in the past for leisure and had looked at other properties in the midcoast area. This one particularly appealed to him because of its location.
"I really like the market overall," he said. "It's a neat little town. I liked the waterfront location with the 33 acres of land. In addition, it was an attractive price and a property that has good current performance and also good upside potential."
Paul plans to make improvements to the property and operations, including a new website, which has been launched.
"We have about a $1.2 million renovation planned over the next two years," he said. "That's underway already."
The majority of the work is focused on selective upgrades of the guest rooms; modernizing the dining room, including the creation of a separate private dining room that can serve small group meetings; and converting the under-utilized fitness center into a second meeting room.
Overall, he said, the property is in good shape.
"The prior owners had reinvested in the property every year," he said. "So this is just taking what they did and refining it."
He's engaged Scout Hotel & Resort Management as its operator.
Ocean Gate Resort has been a true labor of love for our family, and we couldn't be more pleased with The Wardman Group's interest in it," seller Gaynor said in a press release. "We have complete confidence that Wardman and Scout are the right team to shepherd the resort into its next phase."
Thad Paul said the guest-room upgrades include basics like replacing tired carpeting. The meeting room conversion is expected to boost revenue by attracting midweek corporate and association business, which in turn could increase occupancy.
The resort is seasonal, operating May through October.
"Our plan is to increase the season by a week in October," he said. Paul has a marketing campaign to promote the "new" Ocean Gate Resort, which is scheduled to reopen this spring.
Paul cited regional economic development activity, like the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, development of hotels and a country club, and road upgrades in nearby Boothbay Harbor and Boothbay, as activities that are helpful for not only for the success of the property but the region's economy.
"I certainly think there's some potential there," he said.
SOUTHPORT, Maine – Dec. 4, 2017 – The Wardman Group, a Washington, D.C. based real estate investment firm, has acquired Ocean Gate Resort and has engaged Scout Hotel & Resort Management as its operator. Ocean Gate Resort is a 65-room waterfront resort just two-and-a-half miles from the popular town of Boothbay Harbor, Maine. A New England favorite for family vacations and special events, the resort opened in the mid-1950s and had been owned and operated by GEM Hospitality Group since 2006.
“Ocean Gate Resort has been a true labor of love for our family, and we couldn’t be more pleased with The Wardman Group’s interest in it,” said Frank Gaynor, Owner of GEM Hospitality Group. “We have complete confidence that Wardman and Scout are the right team to shepherd the resort into its next phase.”
Added Thad Paul, founder and CEO of The Wardman Group, “Ocean Gate Resort has many great qualities for families, couples and groups seeking a Maine getaway, and it perfectly balances a secluded setting with proximity to Boothbay Harbor. We appreciate the Gaynor family’s excellent stewardship of the resort over the past 11 years, and look forward to bringing it to its full potential.”
The hotel features a range of guestroom options, including standard guestrooms, one- and two-bedroom suites, and two stand-alone cottages, with almost all guestrooms featuring waterfront locations. In the off-season, Wardman plans to selectively upgrade the guestrooms; will modernize its dining room, including the creation of a separate private dining room that can serve small group meetings; and will also convert the under-utilized fitness center into a second meeting room. The 33-acre resort is open seasonally from May through October and offers guests a wide array of recreational facilities including a heated pool and hot tub, floating dock with kayaks and canoes, a nine-hole miniature golf course, and a tennis and basketball court.
Ocean Gate Resort is located on Southport Island, which is accessible from Boothbay Harbor by a swing bridge, and is just minutes from Southport’s Robinson’s Wharf and Oliver’s Restaurant, as well as Boothbay Harbor’s Botanical Gardens, restaurants, galleries, and waterfront activities. For more information, visit: http://www.oceangateinn.com/.
Harbor Lights, a Florida Keys motel featured in the Netflix show Bloodline, sold recently for $6.8 million.
It was among the two Islamorada hotels acquired by Songy Highroads LLC and the Wardman Group, joining the Days Inn Islamorada Resort, a 37-unit property located about two miles away that sold for $7.05 million. Harbor Lights sits on five acres and was built in two stages, dating back to 1953.
Harbor Lights Resort, a 37-unit oceanfront hotel in Islamorada, just sold for $7 million, The Real Deal has learned.
TWG Overseas, LLC, purchased the property at 84951 Overseas Highway on Windley Key from Holiday Isle Resort & Marina Associates. The buyer is a joint venture linked to Atlanta-based Songy Highroads, led by David Songy and Todd Nocerini; and the Washington, D.C.-based Wardman Group, led by Thad Paul, according to documents.
The Wardman Group, based in Washington, D.C., announced today that its affiliate has acquired Summers Landing Polo Road, a 92-unit senior housing property in Columbia, SC. Wardman hired senior housing management company Integral Senior Living (ISL) to manage the property.