Columbus, located at the confluence of the Scioto and Olentangy Rivers, has served as the state capital since 1816. The city, which is nearly equidistant between Cleveland and Cincinnati, is the largest city in the state. Columbus is a college town, home to The Ohio State University (OSU), and is a major center for financial and healthcare services for the entire Central Ohio region. As the state capital of Ohio, the city enjoys a stable economy, primarily due to the presence of local, state, and federal government entities.
Occupancy and average rate (ADR) in Downtown Columbus are reaching record levels given the strong government, financial, and convention demand. Despite significant supply increases throughout the greater market, occupancy has remained strong, and ADR has grown year-over-year since 2011. Occupancy declined in 2018, as supply increases outpaced demand growth, resulting in flat RevPAR. The Greater Columbus Convention Center underwent a major renovation and expansion in 2017, which has helped attract more citywide meeting demand. In 2018, city and county officials announced plans to expand the Hilton Downtown Columbus, adding 470 rooms, by building a second tower above the GCCC. The expansion is expected to begin by late 2019 and open by mid-year 2021.
Recent and ongoing Class-A office space additions and renovations in the Columbus neighborhoods of Grandview Heights, the University District, the Short North, and Upper Arlington are spurring the development of new hotels outside of the CBD, such as a Moxy Hotel and a Graduate Hotel in the Short North. Since January 2017, over 2,100 rooms have been added to the greater market, highlighted by the 224-room Renaissance by Marriott Westerville and the Marriott OSU/Residence Inn by Marriott dual-branded hotel. Currently, there are nearly 2,800 new hotel rooms in the development pipeline through Greater Columbus, including the 470-room expansion of the Hilton Downtown Columbus. While some of these projects remain speculative, several have strong developer backing and financing in place; as such, we anticipate modest occupancy declines in the near term given the entrance of new supply. However, the breadth of employers and companies in the Columbus metropolitan area should continue to bolster the area's long-term performance.
Five hotels totaling approximately $34 million in transaction volume have sold since January 2018, highlighted by the August 2018 sale of the Holiday Inn Express Columbus Dublin (highest price paid at $10,650,000, or $91,000 per key). Transaction activity declined in 2018 when compared with that of 2017, which had ten transactions totaling nearly $160,000,000 in transaction volume.