Accor, Odebrecht plan Sao Paulo hotels worth $127 mln

SAO PAULO Wed Aug 8, 2012 5:19am EDT

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Europe's largest hotel group, Accor, and Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht have partnered to build three hotels in Sao Paulo state, eyeing growth in South America's biggest city and Brazil's burgeoning oil industry.

The partnership will open one hotel in the city of Sao Paulo and two in coastal Santos, a hub for Brazil's offshore oil boom, in 2015 and early 2016, executives said in an interview. The hotels will be sold to investors for an estimated 258 million reais.

"There's a lack of new hotels in Sao Paulo ... We went a long time without launching anything," said Accor's head of Latin American operations, Abel Castro. Ten years have passed since the partnership opened a new hotel in the city.

In that time, unprecedented macroeconomic stability and the discovery of massive deep-sea oil reserves five years ago have given the local economy a shot in the arm, driving up real estate prices.

"Buying a well-located plot in Sao Paulo just to build a hotel is a difficult equation," said Paulo Melo, the regional director of Odebrecht's real estate arm.

To justify the investment and overcome increasingly difficult transportation snags, he said, the new developments will combine hotels, residential towers and commercial space.

"We believe in the model of compact urban development, with stores, offices and hotel in the same place," Melo said. "The idea is to balance the project mix with multiple ventures." (Reporting by Vivian Pereira; Writing by Brad Haynes; Editing by Maureen Bavdek)