ACORE Lends $60M to Refi Boutique Hotel in Nashville

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A fast-growing lodging brand has landed a $60 million refinancing on a hotel it owns in Nashville, Tenn., Commercial Observer can first report.

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The loan, from ACORE Capital, refinances the Graduate Hotel Nashville, a 205-room hotel at 101 20th Avenue in the central Tennessee metropolis. The property, with campy picture-book pink decor, opened for business on Monday, according to WKRN, Nashville’s ABC News affiliate.

ACORE’s financing includes both a senior loan and mezzanine debt. A spokesman for the company declined to specify the relative sizes of the two loans. The five-year ACORE financing replaces $42.5 million in construction debt that the hotel’s developer and owner, AJ Capital Partners, received two years ago. That loan was from EquiTrust Life Insurance, an insurer controlled by former basketball star Magic Johnson.

The hotel, in Nashville’s Midtown neighborhood, includes kitschy decorations that call to mind the city’s legacy as the capital of country music. One room, dedicated to Dolly Parton, has pink upholstery, a water-bed and a ceiling surfaced with disco-ball tiles.

The property also has three restaurants: a café called Poindexter, a yet-unopened rooftop bar called Miss Bessie’s and the Cross-Eyed Critters Watering Hole, a karaoke bar where drinkers can perform alongside a band of animatronic animal musicians.

Executives at AJ Capital Partners, which based in Chicago, did not immediately respond to an inquiry. AJ started the Graduate hotel brand in 2014, aiming to build boutique hotels in college towns near major universities. The brand, which has expanded quickly, now has just over two dozen properties in cities that include Berkeley, Calif.; Ann Arbor, Mich. and Providence, R.I. New hotels are planned for Palo Alto, Calif., as well as in Cambridge and Oxford in the United Kingdom, the first international locations.

This year, Graduate plans to open a hotel on Roosevelt Island in New York City, adjacent where Cornell University now runs a technology-minded campus.