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St. Joe (JOE) to Bring Hilton Garden Inn Brand to Panama City

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The St. Joe Company recently announced Hilton Garden Inn as the brand for its upcoming hotel near the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport in Panama City.  

Specifically, 143-guest-room hotel will be constructed at the entrance of the VentureCrossings Enterprise Centre, around the corner of Venture Crossings Boulevard and West Bay Parkway. The company also intends to include amenities such as a meeting space as well as a full-service restaurant operating seven days a week.

Easy access to the Panama City Beach’s well-known white-sand beaches and the Pier Park area as well as proximity to the airport will likely enable the hotel to enjoy demand from both leisure and business travelers. In fact, per management, with more than 1 million passengers coming through the airport in 2018, and increasing seasonal and year-round destinations like Chicago, Dallas, Nashville and Houston among others, proximity to the airport makes the hotel location a convenient fit.

Notably, St. Joe expects to begin construction on the Hilton Garden Inn this October, with completion expected in 2020. The hotel is the company’s fourth property under construction in Northwest Florida in 2019. Others include the TownePlace Suites adjoining Frank Brown Park, a hotel in the Watersound community and the Embassy Suites near the Pier Park lifestyle center.

St Joe is also focused on development or expansion of a number of commercial projects. In fact, the Hilton Garden Inn is one among at least 30 new residential, commercial or hospitality projects, which the company has initiated or plans to start this year.

Such measures are likely to drive the company’s top line in the upcoming period. Nonetheless, inconsistent revenue performance in many segments and regional business concentration are concerns.

Shares of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company have gained 1.5% over the past year, as against the industry’s decline of 1.2%.




Stocks to Consider

Investors can also consider some better-ranked stocks from the same space like Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. (ARE - Free Report) , Extra Space Storage Inc. (EXR - Free Report) and EastGroup Properties, Inc. (EGP - Free Report) , each carrying a Zacks Rank of 2 (Buy), at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Alexandria Real Estate’s Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2019 funds from operations (FFO) per share remained unchanged at $6.98 in the past month.

EastGroup Properties' FFO per share estimate for the current year remained unrevised at $4.92 over the past month.

Extra Space Storage's Zacks Consensus Estimate for the ongoing year’s FFO per share climbed marginally to $4.87 in a month’s time.

Note: Anything related to earnings presented in this write-up represent funds from operations (FFO) — a widely used metric to gauge the performance of REITs.

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