Sparx Launches Hotel Effort For Devastated Japan

Sep 29 2011 | 11:45am ET

Sparx Group has raised US$14 million for a new fund that will finance hotel construction in the earthquake- and tsunami-devastated region in the north of Japan.

Tokyo-based Sparx, Asia's second-largest hedge fund, said the new fund would build a 314-room hotel in sections that would be transported to Natori, northeast of Tokyo. That will have the hotel up-and-running in April, a year earlier than traditional construction methods. The hotel will house relief workers and volunteers rebuilding after the March 11 catastrophe.

The Natori hotel fund is just the beginning for Sparx. The firm is planning  a second fund to build two other modular hotels in Miyagi prefecture. The firm plans to begin raising that fund in the first quarter.

The new hotel will be managed by Kachikaihatsu Co., Japan's Best Western franchisee. The fund, which has a six-year lifespan, set up a special purpose company with Logicom Inc. to issue senior and mezzanine bonds for the project.

"There is a clear gap between supply and demand in the quake-stricken area when it comes to lodging," Sparx CEO Shuhei Abe told Bloomberg News. "This presented an opportunity for an investor like us to participate in Japan's reconstruction effort, while securing decent returns."

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