Press > The Future of Sustainable & Resilient Development​

The Future of Sustainable & Resilient Development​

Homepage, Investment

February 7th evening industry leaders gathered to discuss sustainable and resilient developments during an engaging panel discussion put on by local architecture firm OBM International (OBMI), Urban Land Institute Southeast Florida/Caribbean (ULI), Association of Architects Miami (AIA), U.S. Green Building Council Florida (USGBC) and the Dade County Bar Association.

The Future of Sustainable and Resilient Developments panel included Greg West, ZOM Living CEO; Mark Lunt, Ernst & Young Principal; Liora Haymann, OBMI Managing Director; and Alec Bogdanoff Ph.D., Brizaga President and Co-Founder. The evening was moderated by Jonathan Newberg, General Counsel, OBMI Architecture. The experts from leading companies shared their insights on the outlook on sustainability and resiliency in the hospitality and real estate industry, trends in resilient design, and institutional risks developing properties in coastal locations.  

The development-focused panel took a financial perspective to sustainability with Haymann commenting, “sustainability is a market driver and preserving the environment can bring in profit with proper planning and programming.”  Lunt added, “developments that have taken an interest in sustainability have turned out a higher level of volume.”
Further explaining developers’ interest in building sustainable hospitality projects, West added, “investors are concerned about sea level rise. They want to make sure the site is equitable for a long-term investment, and they want the community to take action towards a resilient future.”

The sold-out event gathered over 100 professionals spanning the real estate and land use industries to hear the expert perspectives. In line with the panel’s theme, experts advised the audience on the challenges and opportunities to bolster resilience in developments, preserve valuable ecosystems, enhance collaboration across consultants, and increase accountability in the tourism and real estate sectors. As stated during the discussion, Bogdanoff reminded the audience “that sustainability and resiliency is not a destination but a journey,” and that a solution for one location may not be appropriate for another location.

OBMI also announced the next event in their expert panel series to take place on October 9th and will focus on wellness in the hospitality and tourism industry. Confirmed panelists include Marianne Canero of Alma Community, Vivianne Garcia-Tunon of Wonder-Flower, and Kevin Fletcher of OBMI.

Thank you to our partners, and sponsors - Sequil Systems and MEP Consulting Engineers, for making this night possible.
For photos of the event visit our Facebook page!

Press > An Architects View on the Sharing Economy and Diminishing Appeal of Timeshares

An Architects View on the Sharing Economy and Diminishing Appeal of Timeshares

Homepage, Design, Investment

OBMI Chairman and Architect, Tim Peck, recently shared his insights on the sharing economy and the diminishing appeal of timeshares with the International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC) and Hotel News Resource.

What does the sharing economy have that timeshare doesn’t? Insights from ISHC members revolve around two common themes: flexibility and unique experiences.

ISHC’s Tim Peck, Chairman of OBM International Limited commented, “The sharing economy allows far more flexibility in being able to have your home away from home.”

“Why would a consumer want to lock into a particular exchange system when everything is easily available on Airbnb or VRBO?” added David Berins, ISHC, Owner of Berins & Co., LLC.

ISHC’s Christopher Henry, Co-Founder & CEO, Majestic Hospitality Group believes, “It has less to do with the sharing economy and more to do with changing demographics. While the model is still popular with baby boomers, the concept struggles to sell with millennials. This younger group prefers to spend their money on unique and authentic experiences while also not being tied down to commitments. Timeshares provide the exact opposite of this mindset.”

Hayden Pace, ISHC, CEO of Stokes Wagner, ALC agreed “Timeshares are being rendered obsolete by the availability of experience-driven local accommodations.”

31% of ISHC members surveyed believe the sharing economy is not diminishing the appeal of timeshare. Dan Larkin, ISHC, Partner, Bryan Cave maintained, “Branded timeshare offers features the sharing economy does not.”

With Marriott Vacations recent acquisition of Interval Leisure Group to unify the Marriott and Starwood timeshare brands, this move may prove to bolster the strength of vacation ownership.

ISHC’s Flo Lugli, Founder & Principal, NavesinkAdvisory Group, LLC weighed in on how she thinks timeshare can evolve to stay relevant, “Timeshare's value proposition now is more around points and pre-paying for great vacations rather than buying a specific unit in a specific location. To the extent that the exchange businesses can continue to support the exchange of points across multiple locations/resorts, then many will continue to see value.”

It seems ISHC’s Robin Hunden, President, Hunden Strategic Partners, Inc. prediction may be coming true with Marriott now experimenting with homesharing, “The rental home business is expanding in ways that will be hard to replicate unless the brands or management companies begin acquiring the management contracts for multiple homes in destination markets.”

Read original in Hotel News Resource.

Press > Andres Osorio Shares Insights at CHRIS Conference

Andres Osorio Shares Insights at CHRIS Conference

Design, People, Investment

OBMI Lead Hospitality Designer Discusses Breathing New Life into Hospitality Assets at CHRIS

Andrés Osorio, OBMI designer and leader in Hospitality Design, joined a leading group of hospitality design and development experts at the Caribbean Hotel and Resort Investment Summit (CHRIS) in Miami. Osorio spoke to the audience about the best approach for hotel brands to successfully reposition themselves. The panel discussion focused heavily on creating value and breathing new life into resort assets in tropical and island nation locations throughout the region, as well as emerging international design trends.

Osorio shared insights garnered from OBM International’s work throughout the Caribbean including recent work in the renovation of Rosewood Little Dix Bay. Connecting with the local community for specialty programming and creating a plan to preserve the environment were just two of his recommendations.

Press > Experts Agree Caribbean Still Great Market for Hotel Investment

Experts Agree Caribbean Still Great Market for Hotel Investment

People, Investment

Kulig Joins Panel Discussion on Caribbean Hotel Investment Opportunities

At the Caribbean Hotel Investment & Operations Summit, OBMI CEO, Doug Kulig, brought insights derived from his extensive expertise in designing and developing hotels in the Caribbean, shedding light on the investment opportunities available for those with interest in hospitality in the region.

CHICOS 2014 featured numerous panel discussions comprised of prominent executives in the industry, including Kulig, discussing the availability of capital and how visitor arrivals continue to boost Caribbean tourism.

Approximately 300 delegates gathered at the Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference & Operations Summit (CHICOS) held at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

Press > OBMI to Develop Antigua Sustainable Tourism Development Plan

OBMI to Develop Antigua Sustainable Tourism Development Plan

Projects, Tourism, Investment, Sustainability

Strides are being made toward the preparation of a Sustainable Tourism Development Plan (STDP) which will be used to develop and set guidelines for the future enhancement of Antigua and Barbuda as a tourist destination. The Government has secured the professional services of consultants OBMI and T&L Europraxis to partner on this project, to deliver the STDP and all related master planning, business planning, and negotiations.

OBM International (OBMI), one of the world’s leading international architectural and planning firms with nine global offices, has a deep understanding of the vast opportunities for tourism investment in Antigua. The 75-year-old company has maintained an office in the region for 25 years and has completed notable local projects, including Sugar Ridge Hotel, Hermitage Bay, Carlisle Bay Hotel, and Blue Waters Hotel.

OBMI was recently commissioned to prepare a Sustainable Tourism Development Plan (STDP) for Antigua, which aims to attract foreign capital for tourism development. The project is led by OBMI Antigua Partner Brian D’Ornellas, an island native who has been a trusted advisor to businesses and the government for over two decades.

In partnership with the Tourism Ministry and the Investment Authority, OBMI and their consultant partners, Tourism and Leisure SL (part of the Europraxis Group), will develop a STDP that sets the guidelines for future development of the destination, helps identify specific development projects, and provides a cohesive and structured 10-year roadmap for foreign investors.

Through the STDP, Antigua will continue to enjoy the competitive advantages of an attractive environment, a stable government that is actively involved in the tourism industry, an advantageous tax regime for tourism investment, and a key geographic location in the Caribbean near source markets such as the U.S. The project will also help raise the profile of Antigua, to generate employment and economic growth by creating value for the country’s assets.


Press > Market Conditions Prove to be Ideal for Asset Improvements

Market Conditions Prove to be Ideal for Asset Improvements

Tourism, Investment

Despite challenges the Caribbean has faced in the past few years, the future for the industry shows great potential for asset improvements. The prudent hotel owner should now be focusing on repositioning his or her property to preserve investments and prepare for the forecasted market rebound.

The Caribbean hotel industry’s recovery has been slow across the board, having to dig its way out of a loss of 17 percent in ADR during the recession, but in the luxury hotel segment current occupancy levels have climbed higher than in 2008, which is a positive sign for future growth.

The hotel business, as with every industry during these times, is in a constant state of flux, and with the changes in customer expectation, there is a dire need to rethink, reposition, and refurbish existing properties. These were key strategies recently discussed at the annual Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference in Jamaica, and the Caribbean Hotel & Resort Investment Summit (CHRIS) Conference in Miami, Florida, USA.

With many obstacles stemming from the challenges facing the global economy, Caribbean hotels have experienced a significant lack of funding for upgrades. The regional banks have been very conservative and will only provide credit to hotel operations with a good track record, a strong operator, and a recognized brand.

While vulture funds have their eyes on distressed properties, banks have been reluctant to push inventory quickly whilst trying to maintain their ratios and taking an “extend and pretend” strategy. Clearly, this is establishing uncertainties in the market. In instances where loans are coming due and renewals demand new equity requirements, property owners may be burdened with forced sales. As the banks are pressured to face these realities, it is expected that the next 18 months will show increased activity with properties coming to market and being purchased for repositioning.

A growing number of new development projects are also creeping into the pre-planning phase, which is an indication that developers are optimistically moving ahead, anticipating that market improvements are expected to surface in the near future. The bar is being raised in the region and some of the older legacy projects that are in need of repositioning will have to undergo renovations to compete with the new lifestyle brands moving in to the Caribbean region.