As that table shows, Safehold has a fairly concentrated portfolio as its ten largest assets make up 58.1% of its gross assets. Overall, these ground leases secure the land underneath high-quality properties in some of the country's biggest cities. Because of that, it has a significant cushion should a tenant default on their ground lease. Further, most of its ground leases entitle it to a fixed rental rate with inflation adjustments, which supply it with a relatively stable income stream. However, Safehold does have a unique percentage rent structure associated with the Park Hotel portfolio. If the total operating revenues of one of the hotels don't meet a minimum threshold, it doesn't earn any percentage rent from the entire portfolio.
Safehold has an external management agreement with a subsidiary of commercial mortgage REIT iStar (NYSE: STAR), its largest shareholder. That relationship has its benefits and drawbacks. On the downside, Safehold pays management fees to iStar. However, iStar provides it with management support and a steady string of investment opportunities.
While 2020 was a challenging year for the commercial real estate industry, it was a strong one for Safehold. The REIT grew its portfolio to more than $3 billion, ending the year by closing a record number of 13 ground leases for $331 million during the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, it collected 100% of its ground lease rent during the year. Those factors enabled the specialty REIT to grow its earnings per share by 31% for the year. Meanwhile, thanks to its growing scale and strong financial profile, Safehold earned an investment-grade credit rating, which should lower future borrowing costs.
Safehold got 2021 off to a solid start. Thanks to its investment-grade credit, it secured a new $1 billion revolving credit facility, giving it more flexibility to deliver on its ground-lease strategy. It made $166 million of new ground-lease investments during the first quarter across three different markets. These new investments helped grow its portfolio to $3.4 billion at the end of the period.
However, the company did experience some lingering pandemic-related impacts in the first quarter. It typically recognizes the annual percentage rent associated with its Park Hotel portfolio in the first quarter. Unfortunately, due to the effects of the pandemic on those hotels, the percentage rent owed under those leases was $0 compared to $3.6 million in the year-ago period. That shaved $0.07 per share off its earnings in the first quarter.
Safehold stock price
Safehold has done an excellent job creating shareholder value throughout its brief history as a public company. Overall, its share price has grown at a 41% compound annual rate since its initial public offering in mid-2016. Further, Safehold was the top-performing publicly traded REIT since the start of 2019, coinciding with its rebranding as part of iStar's strategy shift. The REIT has also performed very well during the pandemic, producing market-crushing total returns since the start of 2020.