Loan deal backs greener hotels

A refinancing with a green loan has committed Australian hotel owner operator Pro-invest to maintaining and improving the carbon footprint of a portfolio of its Holiday Inn Express hotels

Australian hotel investment group Pro-invest has agreed a green loan with Aareal Bank, refinancing a portfolio of five Holiday Inn Express properties across Australia.

The arrangement refinances Holiday Inn Express properties in Brisbane, Adelaide city centre, Melbourne Southbank, Newcastle and Sydney airport, and is Aareal’s largest green loan to date for a hotel portfolio in Asia Pacific. The properties have all been required to meet a minimum 4.5 star ranking under the bank’s Green Finance Framework established in 2023, which recognises the energy efficiency of the hotels, plus the efforts made to reduce their carbon footprint.

Cutting carbon

Pro-invest will need to report on a range of initiatives, covering energy and water consumption. As an example, recent upgrades such as introducing more efficient air conditioning, occupancy sensors, and solar panels installed at the Holiday Inn Express Melbourne Southbank helped raise the property’s framework score from 4.5 to 5 stars.

The group currently operates 32 hotels and restaurants. On the hotel side, it has a strong affiliation with IHG group, and is growing its luxury and lifestyle portfolio under the Voco and Kimpton brands, alongside its Hotel Indigo properties. In the midscale, Holiday Inn Express is a leading focus.

In 2022, Pro-invest launched a third party hotel management company, Vista Hospitality, seeing an opportunity to grow the specialism in a marketplace that has yet to branch out as has happened in the US and Europe. There, around two thirds of big brand hotels are managed by third party operators, while in Australia the figure is barely more than 10%.

Rebranding to Curio

In 2023, Pro-invest opened Hotel Indigo in Melbourne, after spending AUD20m repositioning the property. It then added another Indigo, this time in Sydney at Potts Point, becoming the third Indigo branded property in the portfolio. And at the end of the year, a rebranding saw the NEXT Hotel in Melbourne relaunched under Hilton’s Curio Collection, Pro-invest’s first collaboration with Hilton.

In March 2024, Pro-invest revealed plans to enter an adjacent space to hotels, planning to create new buildings in the co-living space. Some of these properties could be created by converting hotels, the company said, setting itself a short term target of building a portfolio of 2,000 apartments and studios in around 10 projects.