新闻

EXEC WHO MADE FIRST SALE AT 16 DESIGNS A REAL ESTATE CAREER

Posted on June 28, 2007 by Alby Gallun at www.chicagobussiness.com.

Scott Greenberg cut his first real estate deal at age 16, when he sold a small matchbox house in Denver for $30,000. Mr. Greenberg put up the “For Sale” sign on a Sunday morning, held an open house that afternoon and had a signed contract by the end of the day.

Mr. Greenberg, 48, is working on deals with a lot more zeroes these days. His Lincolnshire-based development firm, ECD Co., is beginning construction on the Wit, a $100-million, 238-room hotel at the northeast corner of State and Lake streets in the Loop. He plans to follow that project with two hotels under Starwood Hotels & Resorts Inc.’s Aloft brand, one in the South Loop and the other in Lincolnshire. And he’s scouting locations in the Southwest United States for other hospitality-related developments.”It seemed like a nice way to make money,” he recalls.

Since it was founded in 1965 by Mr. Greenberg’s father, Gerald, ECD has developed storage facilities in Denver, apartments in Florida and a shopping center in Lincolnshire. But the company nowadays is focusing more on hotels, a hot sector for investors and developers amid a strong market for business and leisure travel.

Mr. Greenberg aims to appeal to both segments with the Wit, with its proximity to the central business district and Millennium Park. The hotel will be just down the street from Block 37, the large retail, office and residential project under construction across from Macy’s State Street store.

“It’s the bull’s-eye location for hotels,” says Mr. Greenberg, ECD’s co-owner and president.

An $82-million loan for the project from Capmark Finance Inc. closed last week, and work has begun at the site, which was cleared last year.

The Wit, which is scheduled to open in 2009, will compete with hotels like the Westin River North, the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower and the Conrad Chicago. Designed by Chicago-based architect Jackie Koo, the 26-story building will be part of the Doubletree chain and include two restaurants, a rooftop lounge and a stadium-style theater for business meetings.

ECD gets credit for placing a bigger emphasis on design than other developers do, even for less-expensive hotels, says Roger Hill, CEO of the Gettys Group Inc., a Chicago-based hotel design and consulting firm. One example: a 185-room Fairfield Inn & Suites at 216 E. Ontario St. that the company finished six years ago.

Mr. Greenberg “really did a good job of packing a lot of good design in a small space and it’s paid off in spades for him,” says Mr. Hill, whose firm has no business ties to ECD. “Regrettably, a lot of developers just focus on trying to do a project as inexpensively as possible and not understanding that if they’d just spend 5% more up front, they might get 10% more in value when it comes time to exit.”

Growing up in Denver as the son of a developer, Mr. Greenberg seemed destined for a career in real estate. He got his real estate sales license at age 16 and his broker’s license at 18. In addition to homes, he sold a few industrial buildings while in college, helping pay his way through Claremont Men’s College, now Claremont McKenna College, in California.

Yet Mr. Greenberg’s first job after graduation was in politics, answering constituent mail and phone calls in Colorado Sen. William Armstrong’s Washington, D.C., office. Realizing he had “very little ability to make a meaningful impression on the world,” he quit after nine months to get his MBA at Columbia University in New York.

He returned to real estate after his graduation, taking a job in acquisitions with Skokie-based Balcor/American Express Co. He joined ECD two years later.

Mr. Greenberg still talks every day with his 77-year-old father, who lives in Denver and remains the firm’s CEO.

With three Chicago-area hotels in the works, the company is betting that the local hotel market, currently having its best year since 1990, will stay strong for the foreseeable future. But a slew of other developers also have projects in the works: Elmhurst-based hotel consultant Theodore Mandigo estimates that in downtown alone about 7,700 new hotel rooms are under construction or on the drawing board.

Though Mr. Mandigo predicts that only about half of those rooms will ultimately get built, Mr. Greenberg acknowledges the possibility of a future glut.

Developing hotels has “suddenly become fashionable,” he says. “Supply is an issue in Chicago, and we hope that supply and demand stay in balance.”

WIT DEVELOPER GREENBERG SINKS TEETH INTO NIGHTCLUB VENTURE

Posted on September 29, 2010 by Eddie baeb at www.chicagobussiness.com.

Scott Greenberg cut his first real estate deal at age 16, when he sold a small matchbox house in Denver for $30,000. Mr. Greenberg put up the “For Sale” sign on a Sunday morning, held an open house that afternoon and had a signed contract by the end of the day.

Mr. Greenberg, 48, is working on deals with a lot more zeroes these days. His Lincolnshire-based development firm, ECD Co., is beginning construction on the Wit, a $100-million, 238-room hotel at the northeast corner of State and Lake streets in the Loop. He plans to follow that project with two hotels under Starwood Hotels & Resorts Inc.’s Aloft brand, one in the South Loop and the other in Lincolnshire. And he’s scouting locations in the Southwest United States for other hospitality-related developments.”It seemed like a nice way to make money,” he recalls.

Since it was founded in 1965 by Mr. Greenberg’s father, Gerald, ECD has developed storage facilities in Denver, apartments in Florida and a shopping center in Lincolnshire. But the company nowadays is focusing more on hotels, a hot sector for investors and developers amid a strong market for business and leisure travel.

Mr. Greenberg aims to appeal to both segments with the Wit, with its proximity to the central business district and Millennium Park. The hotel will be just down the street from Block 37, the large retail, office and residential project under construction across from Macy’s State Street store.

“It’s the bull’s-eye location for hotels,” says Mr. Greenberg, ECD’s co-owner and president.

An $82-million loan for the project from Capmark Finance Inc. closed last week, and work has begun at the site, which was cleared last year.

The Wit, which is scheduled to open in 2009, will compete with hotels like the Westin River North, the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower and the Conrad Chicago. Designed by Chicago-based architect Jackie Koo, the 26-story building will be part of the Doubletree chain and include two restaurants, a rooftop lounge and a stadium-style theater for business meetings.

ECD gets credit for placing a bigger emphasis on design than other developers do, even for less-expensive hotels, says Roger Hill, CEO of the Gettys Group Inc., a Chicago-based hotel design and consulting firm. One example: a 185-room Fairfield Inn & Suites at 216 E. Ontario St. that the company finished six years ago.

Mr. Greenberg “really did a good job of packing a lot of good design in a small space and it’s paid off in spades for him,” says Mr. Hill, whose firm has no business ties to ECD. “Regrettably, a lot of developers just focus on trying to do a project as inexpensively as possible and not understanding that if they’d just spend 5% more up front, they might get 10% more in value when it comes time to exit.”

Growing up in Denver as the son of a developer, Mr. Greenberg seemed destined for a career in real estate. He got his real estate sales license at age 16 and his broker’s license at 18. In addition to homes, he sold a few industrial buildings while in college, helping pay his way through Claremont Men’s College, now Claremont McKenna College, in California.

Yet Mr. Greenberg’s first job after graduation was in politics, answering constituent mail and phone calls in Colorado Sen. William Armstrong’s Washington, D.C., office. Realizing he had “very little ability to make a meaningful impression on the world,” he quit after nine months to get his MBA at Columbia University in New York.

He returned to real estate after his graduation, taking a job in acquisitions with Skokie-based Balcor/American Express Co. He joined ECD two years later.

Mr. Greenberg still talks every day with his 77-year-old father, who lives in Denver and remains the firm’s CEO.

With three Chicago-area hotels in the works, the company is betting that the local hotel market, currently having its best year since 1990, will stay strong for the foreseeable future. But a slew of other developers also have projects in the works: Elmhurst-based hotel consultant Theodore Mandigo estimates that in downtown alone about 7,700 new hotel rooms are under construction or on the drawing board.

Though Mr. Mandigo predicts that only about half of those rooms will ultimately get built, Mr. Greenberg acknowledges the possibility of a future glut.

Developing hotels has “suddenly become fashionable,” he says. “Supply is an issue in Chicago, and we hope that supply and demand stay in balance.”

WIT DEVELOPER PLANS 195-ROOM STREETERVILLE HOTEL

Posted on December 3, 2014 by Micah Maidenberg at www.chicagobussiness.com.

After raising $20 million through a federal visa-for-jobs program, local developer Scott Greenberg has broken ground on a 195-room hotel in Streeterville.

Over the weekend, construction crews erected the crane that will be used to build the 21-story hotel at 226-228 E. Ontario St. It’s the latest local project financed through the controversial EB-5 program, which allows foreigners to become U.S. residents if they invest in qualified business ventures, like real estate developments. To raise the money, Greenberg racked up a lot of frequent flier miles to pitch investors in places like China and India.

“It was a great adventure—a lifetime adventure,” said Greenberg, president and co-owner of ECD, a Lincolnshire-based developer. “I’ve developed relationships all over the world.”

Among those he connected with: 40 people who invested $500,000 apiece in the hotel, which will be part of Marriott International’s Autograph Collection. About 75 percent of the investors are Chinese, with the rest coming from places including Canada, India and Dubai, Greenberg said.

He also is financing the project with a $36 million construction loan from Associated Bank and Inland Bank, he said. The project includes equity investors, including Greenberg, but he declined to provide specifics or disclose how much the project would cost.

WILL THE RECOVERY LAST?

It’s a great time to own a hotel now—downtown hoteliers likely had a record year in 2015—but it’s unclear how strong the market will be in the spring of 2017, when the Streeterville hotel is expected to open.

Some observers worry that the current recovery, now in its seventh year, will lose momentum as developers keep building more rooms, creating an oversupply. Tishman Realty plans a 395-room hotel just down the street from Greenberg’s project.

Greenberg isn’t blind to the risk. He opened his last hotel, the Wit in the Loop, in 2009, just after the hotel market crashed. Though the hotel itself suffered early on, it survived thanks to its rooftop bar and restaurant, Roof, which quickly took off, he said.

“There’s no question that the roof was an economic engine during some dark times,” he said. “I was able to find my way through, but eight years later, it’s still an economic engine.”

In 2012, after the market recovered, Greenberg was able to refinance the Wit with an $87.6 million loan, allowing him to pay off an $82.4 million construction loan.

For the Streeterville hotel, Greenberg said he’s trying to limit his risk by raising a large chunk of money through the EB-5 program and limiting the size of his construction loan.

“There’s a lot of building,” he said. “I’ve got to be cautious, but it’s a question of picking the right project in the right location at the right time.”

As part of the Autograph Collection, the hotel will have its unique brand and identity, but be part of Marriott’s reservation system. Greenberg, who declined to disclose the name of the hotel, doesn’t plan a rooftop bar but is working on a food and beverage offering that he said will be “very original.” Chicago-based Pepper Construction is the general contractor on the hotel, which was designed by Chicago-based Koo & Associates, the architecture firm that designed the Wit.

The EB-5 program provides financing on very attractive terms to developers, largely because the investors who use it are more interested in getting a green card than in making a big return. But it has drawn fire from politicians who argue that it’s vulnerable to fraud and funnels money to unworthy luxury real estate projects.

In one of the biggest examples of what can go wrong, the developer of a failed 995-room hotel development near O’Hare International Airport is expected to plead guilty this week to charges that he used the program to bilk more than 290 Chinese citizens out of $160 million.

Though Congress debated proposals to reform the visa program, which expired Sept. 30, lawmakers eventually just decided to extend it without any changes for another year.

Greenberg, meanwhile, may be up for another international adventure. He said he’s pleased enough with the EB-5 program that he plans to use it again, possibly for an apartment development he plans in Lincolnshire.

 

CHICAGO’S HOTEL SECTOR IS STRONG. HERE’S WHY.

Posted on November 23, 2015 by Chuck Sudo at www.bisnow.com.

Foreign capital is a major factor in Chicago’s ongoing hotel boom. And two panelists at Bisnow’s Hospitality Boom? Chicago Hotel and Investment panel Dec. 10 at Trump Hotel are leading the way.

ECD Co and SMASH Hotels president Scott Greenberg (center, with Clark Hill’s Don Schindler and Hotel Appraisers & Advisers’ Hans Detlefsen) has found success lining up EB-5 investors for the Marriott Autograph in Streeterville. He set up GoUSA EB-5 Regional Center to access that funding pool, which can be difficult to do. It’s helped Scott build direct relationships with Chinese and other foreign sources of capital, which he believes will be a key source of funding in the future.

That easy access to lenders (foreign and domestic) is the biggest difference Scott sees in this hotel cycle. The growth of the hotel industry in recent years, a stronger economy, Chicago’s rising tourism numbers and higher RevPAR have investors flocking to the hotel sector looking for marquee projects. Scott says when ECD built the Wit hotel (pictured) in 2008, he leveraged 80% through banks. Not anymore: for his upcoming Streeterville Marriott, he got enough equity to only take on 60% to 65%. But Scott’s worried that the abundance of capital could lead to too much development; he says there’s a risk of oversaturation in the downtown hotel market with all the projects in the pipeline. He believes the city’s growth can keep it at bay, but if a project is overleveraged, developers will find the road difficult if there’s a downturn.

Geller Investments founder Laurence Geller says developers need to view foreign investors as the rings of the planet Saturn. You have to time when they align in order to court them. Much of that timing will depend on the strength of the economy at a given moment. Laurence considers his Chinese partners, Wanxiang America Real Estate, more like institutional partners who invest in projects around the world. Wanxiang also opens Laurence up to the Chinese travel market.

Laurence’s Chicago’s hotel market has segmented itself in interesting ways. There’s the luxury market in the Loop. East of Michigan Avenue are the big-box meeting hotels. Streeterville’s hotels are boutique-focused, with limited service and driven by price sensitivity. Then there are the projects along the Chicago River, highlighted by Trump Hotel, the Langham, Westin, Renaissance and Oxford Capital’s upcoming Londonhouse. Laurence says if you segregate yourself in any of these markets, you can compete with yourself and bust through any rate barrier. Example: his Waldorf Astoria Chicago is up against the Peninsula and Four Seasons. Laurence believes the city’s economy will continue to flourish, depending on what happens with the ongoing budget stalemate in Springfield, but that Chicago’s hotel sector will be undersupplied by 2018. To learn more, please attend Bisnow’s Hospitality Boom! Chicago Hotel and Investment event at the Trump Hotel, Thursday, Dec. 10, at 7am. Register here.

THIS STREETERVILLE HOTEL PROJECT COMES WITH 40 VISAS FOR INVESTORS

Posted on January 11, 2016 by Alby Gallun at www.chicagobussiness.com.

After raising $20 million through a federal visa-for-jobs program, local developer Scott Greenberg has broken ground on a 195-room hotel in Streeterville.

Over the weekend, construction crews erected the crane that will be used to build the 21-story hotel at 226-228 E. Ontario St. It’s the latest local project financed through the controversial EB-5 program, which allows foreigners to become U.S. residents if they invest in qualified business ventures, like real estate developments. To raise the money, Greenberg racked up a lot of frequent flier miles to pitch investors in places like China and India.

“It was a great adventure—a lifetime adventure,” said Greenberg, president and co-owner of ECD, a Lincolnshire-based developer. “I’ve developed relationships all over the world.”

Among those he connected with: 40 people who invested $500,000 apiece in the hotel, which will be part of Marriott International’s Autograph Collection. About 75 percent of the investors are Chinese, with the rest coming from places including Canada, India and Dubai, Greenberg said.

He also is financing the project with a $36 million construction loan from Associated Bank and Inland Bank, he said. The project includes equity investors, including Greenberg, but he declined to provide specifics or disclose how much the project would cost.

WILL THE RECOVERY LAST?

It’s a great time to own a hotel now—downtown hoteliers likely had a record year in 2015—but it’s unclear how strong the market will be in the spring of 2017, when the Streeterville hotel is expected to open.

Some observers worry that the current recovery, now in its seventh year, will lose momentum as developers keep building more rooms, creating an oversupply. Tishman Realty plans a 395-room hotel just down the street from Greenberg’s project.

Greenberg isn’t blind to the risk. He opened his last hotel, the Wit in the Loop, in 2009, just after the hotel market crashed. Though the hotel itself suffered early on, it survived thanks to its rooftop bar and restaurant, Roof, which quickly took off, he said.

“There’s no question that the roof was an economic engine during some dark times,” he said. “I was able to find my way through, but eight years later, it’s still an economic engine.”

In 2012, after the market recovered, Greenberg was able to refinance the Wit with an $87.6 million loan, allowing him to pay off an $82.4 million construction loan.

For the Streeterville hotel, Greenberg said he’s trying to limit his risk by raising a large chunk of money through the EB-5 program and limiting the size of his construction loan.

“There’s a lot of building,” he said. “I’ve got to be cautious, but it’s a question of picking the right project in the right location at the right time.”

As part of the Autograph Collection, the hotel will have its unique brand and identity, but be part of Marriott’s reservation system. Greenberg, who declined to disclose the name of the hotel, doesn’t plan a rooftop bar but is working on a food and beverage offering that he said will be “very original.” Chicago-based Pepper Construction is the general contractor on the hotel, which was designed by Chicago-based Koo & Associates, the architecture firm that designed the Wit.

The EB-5 program provides financing on very attractive terms to developers, largely because the investors who use it are more interested in getting a green card than in making a big return. But it has drawn fire from politicians who argue that it’s vulnerable to fraud and funnels money to unworthy luxury real estate projects.

In one of the biggest examples of what can go wrong, the developer of a failed 995-room hotel development near O’Hare International Airport is expected to plead guilty this week to charges that he used the program to bilk more than 290 Chinese citizens out of $160 million.

Though Congress debated proposals to reform the visa program, which expired Sept. 30, lawmakers eventually just decided to extend it without any changes for another year.

Greenberg, meanwhile, may be up for another international adventure. He said he’s pleased enough with the EB-5 program that he plans to use it again, possibly for an apartment development he plans in Lincolnshire.

联系方式

贾娟(Joanna Lowry)
EB-5公关总监
电子邮箱:jlowry@smashotels.com
直线电话:708-990-9694
微信:jiajuan821001
帕克韦大道250号120室
美国伊利诺伊州林肯郡,邮编60069