Pen Air and Navy Federal Finance Florida Hotel
Commercial loans from two credit unions will provide the financing for the construction of a new hotel development that will eventually employ hundreds of residents of Pensacola, Fla., according to one of the credit unions that made the loans.
Two credit unions, the 103,000 member Pen Air Federal Credit Union, headquartered in Pensacola and the 3.7 million member Navy Federal Credit Union, headquartered in Vienna, Va., are the credit unions the made the loans. Each has a significant link to the military and Pensacola has a long relationship with different branches of the military services.
The two credit unions will lend $13 million of the project's expected cost of roughly $17 million. The project will bring between 350 and more than 1,000 jobs, both directly and indirectly, to the community, they said.
Tom Furr, business lending manager for Pen Air, acknowledged that the investment is a large one but stressed that the credit union had experience working with the developer, Innisfree Hotels and, in particular, its founder and CEO Julian MacQueen.
The company is privately held by MacQueen and has launched and managed hotel projects in eight states across the southeastern part of the U.S. He also noted that the developer has taken advantage of the lower construction costs stemming from the current economic downturn to help keep costs down.
Furr explained that the hotel will not be the only part of the development, though it will be a significant part.
Innisfree Hotels will develop 11.44 acres leased from the City of Pensacola, including the parcel for the hotel and make five separate parcels available for sublease. The businesses that sublease parcels will bring in additional employment opportunities to the area once fully developed, the CU said, further adding to the site's potential as a job center. Construction for the development has already begun and the hotel portion, which will open under the Hyatt brand, is expected to be completed in the spring of 2013, Furr said.
In addition to having worked with Innisfree in the past, Furr put the development in the context of other development, particularly to area transportation facilities, that had taken place in the region.
He explained the Pensacola Gulf Coast Regional Airport recently completed the second phase of a $45 million terminal expansion project and has planned future expansion that will include the construction of an additional parking garage and more boarding gates, all geared to increasing traffic.
Southwest Airlines recently acquired AirTran and is expected to begin flying to Pensacola soon, making the area more accessible.
A spokeswoman for Navy Federal confirmed the loan but did not reply to a request for additional details about its participation.