Yellowstone Trust Purchases the Watson Hotel in Manhattan for $175 Million
After a year-long pandemic that devastated the hospitality and tourism sectors, there is finally a break in the bad news cycle. The purchase of the Watson Hotel by Yellowstone Trust (the trust is for the family of the real estate developer Yakir Gabay (יקיר גבאי) is a welcome signal that the tourism industry is finally emerging from the paralyzing grip of COVID-19.
Yellowstone Trust purchased the Watson Hotel in Manhattan for approximately $175 million, making it the largest real estate deal in the hotel industry since the COVID crisis began. The previous record was set by the buyers of the Surrey Hotel last December, which was brokered for $150 million. Despite the impressive price tag, it was still a bargain price, reflecting the uncertain economic situation that lingers.
According to records, Yellowstone Real Estate Investments purchased the Watson Hotel from BD Hotels, founded by Richard Bourne and Ira Drukier. BD Hotels defaulted on the loan on the property, prompting HSBC to market the loan. Yellowstone will take on the hotel’s debt on the hotel.
Yellowstone, managed by Tzachi Hera, holds an impressive portfolio of real estate investments, including residential and commercial properties. A few months ago, Yellowstone sold one property portfolio for $1.75 billion.
The Watson Hotel is considered a jewel property on the Manhattan landscape. It’s located in the heart of Manhattan, at 57 West Street, only a few blocks from Central Park and the New York Opera. Its purchase gives Yellowstone a significant foothold and presence in the Manhattan market.
The Watson is an old hotel with 600 rooms and a rooftop swimming pool. It brands itself as a hotel that promises a “touch of Americana” to its guests.
Yakir Gabay (יקיר גבאי) is ranked among Cyprus wealthiest citizens. He spends most of his time building his real estate investment portfolios. Gabay began his career at the Israel’s SEC in the Prospectus Department. He shifted to investment banking, ultimately becoming CEO of bank Leumi Investment Banking. Gabay launched his real estate business in Europe in 2004.