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December 26, 2013

Blackstone Closes on East Coast Hotel Portfolio for $186M

By Gail Kalinoski, Contributing Editor

Courtyard_-_Ewing_Exterior

Courtyard by Marriott in Ewing, N.J.

Blackstone Real Estate Advisors, L.P., has closed on a 15-property select-service hotel portfolio in seven East Coast and Mid-Atlantic states after securing $186 million in acquisition financing.

At least 12 of the properties are part of the Hersha Hospitality Trust portfolio sale that was announced in September and was to include 16 hotels for a total of $217 million. Hersha said in a news release that the sale of the 12 non-core hotels generated gross proceeds of approximately $158.6 million. Information on the remaining four hotels of the Hersha portfolio could not be obtained at press time.

A spokesperson for Jones Lang LaSalle, which arranged the acquisition financing obtained from Deutsche Bank, said the other seller was SREE Hotels, a hotel development and management company from Charlotte, N.C.. SREE Hotels management could not reached for more information on the sale.

The 15-hotel portfolio acquired by Blackstone, the private equity firm that is the largest U.S. owner of hotel properties, features 1,642 keys in hotels in Pennsylvania, New York, North Carolina, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Delaware. Brands include Courtyard by Marriott, Residence Inn, SpringHill Suites, TownePlace Suites, Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn Express.

In addition to strong brand affiliations, the hotels all have superior management and amenities including fitness centers, meeting space facilities, swimming pools and business centers, according to Jones Lang LaSalle.

“The portfolio benefits from superior sponsorship that provided a significant equity investment of nearly $50 million as well as their global brand recognition. In addition to the strong in-place cash flow, there is limited new supply in each market, which will bolster the portfolio’s performance going forward,” Matthew Comfort, managing director of Jones Lang LaSalle’s Hotels and Hospitality Group, said in a news release.

Executive managing director Peter Nicoletti and executive vice presidents Dustin Stolly and Bill Grice were also part of the JLL team handling the transaction.

“The floating rate debt markets continue to evolve in favor of top tier sponsors. The transaction appealed to a wide variety of capital sources that were willing to provide Blackstone with the flexibility and structure necessary to implement their business plan for each of the assets,” Nicoletti said in the release.

Deutsche Bank provided a five-year, floating-rate loan.

Hersha, a Philadelphia-based hospitality REIT, announced in late September that it was selling 16 assets it considered non-core to Blackstone. Those hotels were in Long Island, suburban Philadelphia, Connecticut and Rhode Island and marked Hersha’s exit from those markets as it transitioned into a “pure play, urban transient portfolio with exposure to some of the highest demand gateway markets in the United States,” Hersha CEO Jay Shah said at the time.

He noted in September that Hersha wanted to reduce leverage and redeploy cash proceeds to higher growth opportunities in Miami and the West Coast. Last week, Hersha said it had entered into a definitive agreement to buy two Marriott Autograph Collection hotels with a total of 145 rooms in Miami’s South Beach for $50.95 million. Shah said in a release that the Blue Moon Hotel and Winter Haven Hotel had recently received $9 million in renovations. Hersha also plans to buy Hotel Oceana, a 122-room hotel in Santa Barbara, Calif., for $42 million.

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