St. Regis Aspen public offering clears SEC, will open at $20 a share

Owners of the St. Regis Aspen Resort hotel have been given SEC clearance to sell the property through a public offering that will be made at another date.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times |

The Securities and Exchange Commission has given clearance for the initial public offering of the St. Regis Aspen Resort hotel.

The SEC on Tuesday issued what’s called a “notice of qualification,” which paves the way for a $33.5 million IPO of the Aspen luxury hotel through a real estate investment trust. The trust, Aspen REIT Inc., will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “AJAX.” A date for the IPO has not been set.

“Upon closing of the IPO, Aspen REIT will be the first single-asset REIT to list on a national securities exchange in the United States,” according to a statement issued Wednesday by Aspen REIT.

Only the St. Regis Aspen property would be sold through the IPO, which is planned at $33.5 million through 1.675 million shares sold at $20 each. The 179-guest-room hotel is located at the base of Aspen Mountain.

Aspen REIT was formed in December 2016 in Maryland and is managed by a subdivision of Elevated Returns LLC, a New York-based real estate asset management and advisory firm controlled by Stephane De Baets, who was traveling and could not be reached for immediate comment Wednesday.

Represented by De Baets’ Bangkok-based OptAsia Capital Co. Ltd, 315 Dean Associates Inc. bought the five-star St. Regis for $70 million in September 2010. The hotel opened in 1992 as a Ritz-Carlton Hotel before being converted to the St. Regis in 1998.

In a prepared statement, De Baets, who is CEO, president and chairman of REIT, said: “Today, any investor can subscribe to become a part owner in the St. Regis Aspen Resort, one of the world’s finest luxury hotels. Through this first-of-its-kind offering in the United States, we are leveling the playing field for all investors, creating equal opportunity to participate in the upside associated with a first-class resort destination supported by strong fundamentals, an experienced leadership team and a world-class property manager.”

REITs traditionally have more than one asset, but that isn’t the case with Aspen REIT, which will be offered through a Regulation A-plus IPO, which allows anyone to invest.

The point of Regulation A-plus IPOs, which are the product of the Jumpstart Our Businesses Startups Act of 2012, is to be more inclusive to investors while small start-up companies face less-stringent regulations for them to raise capital.

The website​reit, which provides financial documents for potential investors in Aspen REIT to peruse, warns: “This offering involves a high degree of risk, including the potential loss of an entire investment.”

Aspen REIT currently is focused on the IPO and does not have future rounds of selling under consideration, De Baets told The Aspen Times in December.

“Upon the completion of this offering and the contribution transactions, our only long-term debt is expected to be a $120 million mortgage on the St. Regis Aspen Resort,” according to an offering circular filed Nov. 13 with the SEC.

The St. Regis Aspen is managed by a subsidiary of Marriott International, which merged with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide in September 2016. Neither company has an ownership interest in the St. Regis Aspen.

Maxim Group LLC is the lead managing selling agent for the offering.


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