The new owner of a Branson hotel just off the Highway 76 strip has plans to spend millions of dollars to convert the property into an apartment complex.
Tiburon, California-based Drever Atelier Partners closed in June on the purchase of Angel Inn by the Strip, said managing director Galen Drever. The company announced its plans for Angel Inn in a news release late last month, in which the 3029 W. 76 Country Blvd. property is being renamed The Penleigh – Branson Row. Drever declined to disclose the purchase price from Jerry Emery for the 342-room property, but said the company plans to invest roughly $12.5 million to redevelop it into 324 apartments. Most will be one-bedroom and studio units.
Jonas Arjes, executive director of economic development organization Taney County Partnership, said in the release that the California company is known for its expertise in transforming hotels into apartment complexes.
“Their vision for The Penleigh is to deliver a residential community that is affordable, safe and a welcoming place for their residents to call home,” Arjes said in the release. “We realize the Drever Atelier Partners team is being actively pursued by other cities with closed hotels and appreciate that they have chosen to do this redevelopment in Branson. The property will be a positive, impactful addition for our community and the businesses that serve our residents and millions of visitors.”
The 1994-built Angel Inn will undergo a complete renovation to include three resident lounges, fitness center, children’s playground, swimming pool with two hot tubs, resort-style cabanas and a pavilion with grills for residents, according to the release. The apartment building will be pet friendly with an on-site park and concierge for dogs and cats. Monthly rent rates are expected to be around $600, and Drever said it should be ideal for workers such as those in the service and hospitality industry.
A 2018 housing study commissioned by the Taney County Partnership noted 42% of Taney County homes were occupied by renters. The study also found that quality rentals were in short supply, especially near major employment centers.
“We’re currently pursuing broken hotel deals all over the country and have a specific set of search criteria that we look for in an asset before taking it into consideration,” Drever said via email.
Drever said the Branson property checked off many boxes for the company, including supportive city leaders, a financially and socially responsible investment and a fair-minded seller. Angel Inn by the Strip shut down late last year shortly after the property went under contract, he said. No incentives were provided by Branson for the project, city officials say.
Indianapolis, Indiana-based Midwest GC LLC is general contractor for the project designed by Indianapolis-based Prince Alexander Architecture.
“We anticipate construction taking 10 months from start to finish,” Drever said via email. “Our plan is to start pre-leasing three months prior to opening.”
Emery said he previously owned three Angel Inns in Branson but sold Angel Inn Central and Angel Inn near IMAX in 2018. Angel Inn Central is registered under A & A Hospitality LLC, while Angel Inn near IMAX is listed under Shree Ganesh A LLC, according to the Missouri secretary of state’s office.
“They are owned by two different families that are cousins,” Emery said via email. “They both run the properties well and have continuously improved them as we did during our ownership.”
Emery said he wanted to retire, which led to selling the last of the hotel properties he owned.
“I’ve had higher-priced offers to sell the Angel Inn by the Strip property in the past to operators that I knew would create weekly motels that would damage Branson’s image and be unsafe for families with children,” Emery said in the release.
“We made the choice to sell the property to Galen and Maxwell Drever because we believed they would successfully convert the motel into an apartment community that would create a safe and thriving addition to the city.”
Galen Drever is the son of Maxwell Drever, chair emeritus of real estate investment firm Drever Capital Management. Galen Drever said his father serves in an advisory role for the sister company he founded last year. He said Drever Capital Management has acquired and developed over 47,000 multifamily units over the past 50-plus years and has more than $285 million in assets under management. The company has properties in markets such as Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Denver, according to its website.
Drever said the primary focus of his company is to convert broken hotels into affordable apartments with amenities for residents.
Joel Hornickel, Branson’s director of planning and development, said Drever Atelier Partners reached out to the city at the end of 2020 with its prospective plans for the hotel and to learn of the permitting process.
“They had a clearly successful track record of doing this before in other areas of the country. They definitely knew what they were talking about,” Hornickel said. “They knew what it would take from a permitting standpoint and a construction standpoint to successfully convert this hotel to apartments. That gave the staff a lot of confidence going forward.”
The permit applications were submitted in early May and issued two months later after three rounds of review, he said.
“For a project of this size and scope, to get it done in three rounds speaks to them being proactive and understanding what they were doing,” Hornickel said.
Converting a hotel to apartments in Branson is rare, Hornickel said, noting he was aware of only two other instances. One is Plato’s Cave Apartments, which has one-bedroom and studio units on the property that was formerly a Days Inn. That ongoing project, which he said started in 2018, has units available for rent, according to its website. Around nine years ago, the former Boxcar Willie Inn on Schaefer Drive was transformed into the Holiday Terrace Apartments, he said.
Drever said his company doesn’t have any other Branson properties under consideration at this time but is always looking for more products.
Hornickel said The Penleigh, which is less than a quarter mile off Highway 76 and within eyesight of attractions such as the Hollywood Wax Museum, should be a draw for seasonal workers.
“We’ve got so many service jobs in the community, and we really need the housing to support those jobs. The location needs to be such that it supports those jobs, too,” he said. “That’s what’s really great about this project is that it’s just down the hill from the 76 corridor where there’s just a plethora of service jobs. It’s really going to be helpful on all fronts in that topic.”
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