Good morning. Over the last few months, one story has gripped the European real estate community: the fate of René Benko’s Signa Holding. Today we’re delving into its hospitality assets to try and find out what’s going on.

What’s happening: Austria’s largest privately owned real estate company was founded in 2000 and was employing around 150 people when it announced insolvency plans in November 2023, just weeks after its offices had been raided by the Austrian police.

The construction site of Signa’s financed Lamarr luxury department store. (JOE KLAMAR/AFP via Getty Images)

Why it matters: Signa has been no stranger to hotel investment with projects like the Park Hyatt Vienna, a conversion of the former headquarters of Länderbank and Bank Austria. But it was its investments in retail that have proved far more costly.

1 big quote: “It is widely known that, due to external factors in Europe, the retail sector – brick and mortar retail in particular – has been subjected to severe economic pressure in recent years. Investments in this area did not yield the anticipated success. External factors have additionally also had a negative impact on the real estate sector in recent months.” — A statement from Signa
 Patrick Whyte, editor-in-chief of Hospitality Investor