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September 19, 2012

Wheelock Street Capital Buys 15 Hotels for $221M

By Gail Kalinoski, Contributing Editor

Wheelock Street Capital continues to shop for hospitality holdings by acquiring 15 hotels in nine states in two separate transactions for $221 million. Those purchases follow an acquisition in the San Francisco Bay area in early July.

On July 3, the Greenwich, Conn.-based real estate investment firm announced it had closed on $525 million in commitments for its first fund, Wheelock Street Real Estate Fund, L.P. At that time, the firm’s co-founders and managing partners, Rick Kleeman and Jonathan Paul, had said the fund was going to focus mainly on hospitality and residential land purchases. A few days later, the firm acquired the Marriott Pleasanton, a full-service hotel in Pleasanton, Calif., from an unidentified institutional investor. In late July, the firm acquired Canyon Falls, a 1,129-acres master planned community north of Fort Worth, Texas, from an affiliate of Highland Capital Management that calls for the development of 1,750 single-family homes as well as multi-family, retail and other commercial uses.

But this week hotels are in the forefront of Wheelock’s acquisition strategy, as the firm acquired 12 select-service hotels from affiliates of Inland American Real Estate Trust Inc., and three full-service hotels from affiliates of Sunstone Hotel Investors, Inc.

“We are delighted to be adding this collection of high quality hotels to our portfolio,” said Paul. “Wheelock will invest in additional capital upgrades across both portfolios to position the assets to benefit from a favorable backdrop and high quality brand affiliations.”

CBRE and Maxim Hotel Brokerage represented Inland in the sale of the 12-hotel portfolio and Hodges Ward Elliott represented Sunstone in the sale of the three full-service properties.

Financing for the Inland American portfolio was provided by a combination of assumed CMBS loans and newly originated senior financing provided by GE Capital, Franchise Finance. Ten of the hotels have long-term license agreements with affiliates of Hilton and Marriott. The other two are licensed by affiliates of Choice Hotels and InterContinental. The portfolio will be managed by McKibbon Hotel Management and the North Central Group.

The hotels are: Hampton Inn Perimeter Center in Atlanta; Hilton Garden Inn North Alpharetta, Alpharetta, Ga.; Homewood Suites Houston Clearlake, Clearlake, Texas; Homewood Suites Phoenix MC, Phoenix; Homewood Suites Crabtree Valley, Raleigh, N.C.; Courtyard Houston Brookhollow, Houston; Courtyard Chicago St. Charles; St. Charles, Ill.; Hampton Inn Raleigh Cary, Cary, N.C.; Hampton Inn University Place, Charlotte, N.C.; Holiday Inn Express Clearwater, Clearwater, Fla.; iltonHHilton Garden Inn – San Antonio Airport, San Antonio, Texas; and Comfort Inn Cross Creek, Fayetteville, N.C.

The three hotels purchased from Sunstone for a total of $105 million are the 257-room San Diego Hilton Del Mar; the 229-room Minneapolis DoubleTree Guest Suites and the 350-room Detroit Marriott Troy. Wheelock assumed the properties’ existing CMBS financing. Sage Hospitality will manage the San Diego Hilton Del Mar and Minneapolis DoubleTree Guest Suites. Marriott International will continue management of the Detroit Marriott Troy. Wheelock will make upgrades at the Detroit Marriott Troy and Minneapolis DoubleTree. A Wheelock spokesman told Commercial Property Executive that Sunstone had already renovated guest rooms, corridors and the lobby of the Hilton Del Mar in the past six months. Wheelock will continue to renovate the property.

Earlier in the summer, Sunstone sold the 284-room Marriott Del Mar in San Diego for $66 million to an unidentified buyer as part of its stated plan to divest itself of non-core assets.

Inland American is also repositioning its lodging portfolio, adding upper-upscale and luxury hotels. Some of the hotels purchased by Wheelock may be part of a 17-property portfolio that an Inland American spokesman told Commercial Property Executive in March that it was planning to sell. That portfolio included some brands like Holiday Inn Express, Comfort Inn and Hampton Inn.

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