Sunstone Walks Away from the W Hotel

Major Foreclosures and Defaults in Downtown San Diego

When homeowners owe more than their home is worth and walk away, it’s called a “strategic default.” Fannie Mae warned potential strategic defaulters last month that they would never again get another mortgage.

But no one seems bothered that Sunstone Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. is walking away from a $65 million mortgage on the 258-room W Hotel in downtown San Diego.

The San Diego Union-Tribune’s Lori Weisberg reports that the W Hotel was auctioned on the courthouse steps on June 29. The property is now in the hands of Bank of America, the lender.

Sunstone was underwater on the W Hotel. The Aliso Viejo-based real estate investment trust, concluded that it owed far more than the W Hotel was worth. Sunstone bought the W for $96 million in 2006 from a group led by developer Gatehouse Capital Corp., the Wall Street Journal reported last month.

But Sunstone is coming out ahead. Chief financial officer Ken Cruse crows to the U-T about “a significant gain” on the W San Diego because the hotel was recorded on Sunstone’s books at $35 million.

Thanks, assholes.

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