Bob Gustin: Entrepreneurial Approach to Hospitality

HALL Structured Finance Borrower Spotlight Series

HALL Structured Finance (HSF) entrepreneur and borrower Bob Gustin is the Managing Member of GPG Development LLC (GPG), a real estate development company based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. According to Bob, being an entrepreneur is all about taking calculated risks, and Bob has taken many risks throughout his career, helping him create the pioneering company he leads today. HSF sat down with Bob to learn more about his entrepreneurial career and what he has working next.


Entrepreneurial Beginnings

Bob was formerly a Senior Manager with KPMG in Albuquerque, New Mexico. An entrepreneur at heart – with family in the hotel business since 1978 – Bob founded GPG in 1998. Today, GPG has completed deals in 11 states, including 12 current properties located in seven states.

Bob’s first major development was an ambitious independent luxury boutique hotel in downtown Napa called The River Terrace Inn. The hotel, located at the north end of the Oxbow District, was approved by the Napa City Council in 2001, but after the tragic 9/11 terrorist attacks, the hotel’s lender backed out. Well-respected companies turned down opportunities to manage the hotel due to its location, perceived lack of amenities, and title as an upscale independent boutique hotel following 9/11. Hotel development ceased across the United States after the heartbreaking attacks as lenders were cautious to finance anything involving the travel or airline industry.

While many would be apprehensive to take on a project in such a risky market, Bob was drawn to the hotel’s potential. In 2001, HALL Structured Finance (HSF) met with Bob about the project and were drawn to his vision for the project and entrepreneurial spirit. HSF ended up providing a $10.9 million loan to get the hotel started. Today, the hotel features 113 guestrooms and suites and just recently celebrated its 16-year anniversary in November 2019. The River Terrace Inn, the first of many developments Bob would take on, remains one of the developments he is most passionate about today.

River Terrace Inn | ALBA Restaurant

Partnering with HSF

The River Terrace Inn was one of three hotels Bob developed that were financed by HSF. Shortly after completing the River Terrace Inn, Bob sought financing for a development in Houston. This hotel development was unique and presented new challenges, as it was previously a vacant assisted living community. This major redevelopment project was also planned to be branded with a new and relatively untested hotel franchise, Hotel Indigo. At the time, this was only the third Hotel Indigo in the United States, and most lenders wanted to finance only well-known hotel brands and did not want to tackle redevelopment risks. With a shared entrepreneurial approach, HSF financed the Hotel Indigo in Houston with an $8.5 million loan. The redevelopment was a great success; Bob was able to revitalize a once-vacant property into something the community would enjoy and benefit from, as it is located in Houston’s bustling Galleria shopping center.

Bob’s most recent work with HSF was to develop a TownePlace Suites by Marriott in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, located in southern Milwaukee. The hotel is located within a mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly development called Drexel Town Square, and is the only hotel within the growing area destination, which also includes multiple restaurants, retail, multifamily and entertainment offerings. Seeing Bob’s vision for the hotel and knowing his proven track record, HSF made a $10.9 million loan for the new hotel.

According to Bob, given the breadth of all these unique deals, he “credits HSF as one of the few lenders with in-depth hospitality knowledge and the ability to understand complex deals where many lenders cannot.”

River Terrace Inn | Lobby

What’s next?

Bob seeks out unique development opportunities across the United States, and today, he is continuing his entrepreneurial journey in the wine country of Paso Robles, California. His newest project in the growing tourism destination is a 151-room The Ava Hotel  (which will be part of the Curio Collection by Hilton)  which is approaching its groundbreaking in the near future.

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