Barry Stuart Sternlicht is a reputable American businessman. He is known worldwide for his experience and success in real estate management and trading at the New York Stock Exchange. Sternlicht is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Starwood Capital Group—an investment firm that trades on infrastructure, energy (oil and gas), real estate and securities. He is the chairman of the largest commercial mortgage REIT in the United States, Starwood Property Trust.
His other investments firms under the Starwood umbrella include Starwood Waypoint Residential Trust (NYSE: SWAY, TRI Pointe Homes (NYSE: TPH), crystal maker Baccarat S.A, and Société du Louvre, one of the U.S.’s largest homebuilders and hotel operators.
Barry Sternlicht Background
Born in 1960 in New York City, Barry Sternlicht spent his childhood in Connecticut. His father Maurycy Sternlicht is a Holocaust survivor from Poland, who worked as a manager at a plant in Connecticut. His mother, Harriet, who was American, was a biology teacher and stockbroker. Sternlicht’s interest in the stock exchange was probably influenced by his mother, who traded in the stocks markets early on in his life.
Sternlicht subsequently graduated with honours, magna cum laude from Brown University in 1982. In 1986, he graduated with an MBA with distinction, from the Harvard Business School. Immediately after graduation, Sternlicht took up a position at JMB Realty, a real estate investment company in Chicago. There he gained a lot of experience and interest in the real estate industry.
Barry Sternlicht made a strategic career move in the 90’s when he raised $20 million from the Ziff and Burden families of New York and purchased loans from the Resolution Trust Corporation-branch of the federal government to buy real estate assets left over from the savings-and-loan crisis.
He later founded Starwood Capital Group, which he used to innovatively buy apartment buildings that the government had put on auction during the savings and loans crisis of 1992.
A year later, he amazingly made a 100% return on investment from these properties when he sold the portfolio to a big time Real estate investor, Sam Zell, for more than 20%. When Sam Zell made the company public that year, Starwood made a lot of money. After this big break, Barry Sternlicht must have realised his talent in the real estate and decided to stay and invest even more. From then on he focused much of his investments in real estate finance and architecture. He started looking for investment opportunities in the hotel industry, identifying, buying and developing various hotel sites and selling them at huge profits.
Under Sternlicht’s direction, Starwood Capital Group became a powerhouse and still ranks today as the largest and most successful real estate investment firms in the USA.
Over the years, the company has invested in more than 70,000 apartment units, 2200 hotels, 44 million office properties, 39 million square feet retail and over 46,000 acres in residential subdivisions. Currently the firm manages about $37 billion of investment capital for its institutional partners and public share holders.
Awards and Honours
Over the years, Barry Sternlicht has been awarded many honours by the global community in recognition of his successful ventures in the real estate industry.
The Commercial property executive magazine named him investor of the year on 2010. That same year, Private Equity Real Estate magazine named him the Global Industry Figure of the Year and North American Industry Figure of the Year in 2010 for the second year in a row.
In 2004, Institutional Investor Magazine awarded him the America’s Best Lodging CEO honours. Barry Sternlicht was inducted into the Interior Design Magazine Hall of Fame in 2011; this is considered one of the highest honours in the real estate industry.
In addition, he is the recipient of the Preston Robert Tisch Distinguished Industry Leadership Award from New York University, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Travel Marketing Executives, the CEO Diversity Award from Diversity Best Practices/Business Women’s Network, the Hospitality Heritage Award from the American Hotel and Lodging Association, and The Marketer of the Year Award from Brandweek.
Barry Sternlicht’s has also received prestigious national honours for his humanitarian efforts such as JDRF’s Man of the Year, JDRF’s Living and Giving Award and JDRF’s Chairman’s Award.
Barry Sternlicht is a board trustee member of his former alga mata, Brown University. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the famous Estée Lauder Companies, Zelnick Media, Restoration Hardware, Mammoth Mountain, TriPointe Homes and Baccarat.
In addition, the billionaire also chairs the Board of Robin Hood Foundation– his own foundation and Real Estate Roundtable, Pension Real Estate Association (PREA), the Business Committee for the Arts, the Dreamland Community Theatre and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s National Leadership Advocacy Program.
Starwood Capital Group
The Starwood Capital Group is Barry Sternlicht’s investment firm headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut. The firm has branch offices in Atlanta, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami, and affiliated offices in London, Luxembourg, Paris, Frankfurt and Sao Paulo. It is the umbrella of several of Sternlicht’ s businesses ventures including Starwood Property Trust Inc, Starwood Energy Group Global, LLC., Starwood Real Estate Securities LLC., and SH Group.
Other companies include Starwood Energy Partners which focuses on energy infrastructure investments, and Starwood Real Estate Securities hedge fund. The company also owns interest in Troon Golf.
While Barry Sternlicht was CEO, Starwood Hotels blossomed to become one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world. To date the company has employed more than 120,000 people under 895 properties in 100 countries worldwide.
Today Starwood Hotels manages over $12 billion investor capital on behalf of its high-end customers and institutional partners’ .It has become a fully fledged owner, operator and franchiser of hotels and hotel properties. It has employed approximately 225 associates at its headquarters in Greenwich, Connecticut, branch offices in Atlanta, San Francisco, Washington DC, London, Sao Paulo Mumbai, Paris and Luxembourg.
Barry Sternlicht has been credited and recognized as a dynamic and innovative global hotel leader. He has been credited to be strategic and innovative in creating new products and programs with immediate global appeal. The real estate guru, has real estate ventures all over the world, we look at some of them below.
Sternlicht founded the W Hotels, which are considered as one of the world’s most successful “boutique” brand. He is also behind the development of St. Regis Hotels into a brand. Starwood ventures into hotels also include The Luxury Collection, W Hotels, Sheraton, Westin, Meridien, and Four Points.
Starwood Capital exited its investment in Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Inc. In 2000 and its investment in iStar Financial, Inc In 2003.In 2005, the company acquired Groupe du Louvre, which owns crystal maker Baccarat.
In 2009, Starwood Capital bought 40% of the loan portfolio of Corus Bank .However In 2010 the company lost out on an auction to buy Extended Stay Hotels to Center bridge Partners.
In 2010, Starwood Capital Group received new debt and stock from Riviera holdings –the owners of Riviera hotel and Casino. The company acquired Riviera’s properties in Las Vegas, Nevada and Riviera Black hawk in Black Hawk-after Riviera filed for bankruptcy petition under Chapter 11 and handed them a reorganisation plan.
In 2012, the company delved into the construction business .It began construction of a chain of hotels under the umbrella of Baccarat Hotels and Resorts. All hotels built under this umbrella will feature crystal chandeliers from Baccarat.
The flagship hotel is in New York City, New York, on the old Donnell Library Center-which Starwood acquired from 21 Club. Other beautiful complexes constructed in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Rabat, Carthage, Morrocco, Tunisia, Morocco and Foshan, Shanghai and Tianjin in China are scheduled for opening in 2014 and 2015.
In 2012, Starwood went into a dealership with Toll Brothers to develop the Pierhouse at Brooklyn Bridge Park at Brooklyn for US$280,000,000.
In 2013, Starwood bought several prime locations in Sweden including retail parks and shopping gallerias in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö, and Uppsala and a result of a partnership with Swedish retail group Kooperativa Förbundet for $593.3 million.
In 2013 and 2014, Starwood ventured into England acquiring three British hospitality groups; De Vere Group for GB£232 million, Four-Pillars Hotels for GB£90 million and Principal Hayley Group.
In February 2014, Starwood Waypoint Residential Trust was spun off in a 1-for-5 stock distribution. It was the single-family rental real estate investment trust in the group.
In 2014, Starwood Capital became a minority shareholder of A.S. Roma (9.36%), after purchasing 20% shares of AS Roma SPV; AS Roma SPV was the direct major shareholder of NEEP Roma Holding (60%); NEEP Roma Holding was the major shareholder of AS Roma SpA (78.038%).
In mid- 2014, Starwood purchased seven upscale malls from Taubman Centres at approximately $1.4 billion. The malls are located in Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Texas, and Michigan.