Crescent Hotels to Go on $600M Shopping Spree in 2008

Having purchased $400 million worth of properties last year, Crescent Hotels & Resorts is upping the ante for 2008 with plans to make $600 million in acquisitions. The Fairfax, Va.-based company will finance the purchases by raising equity through a new fund. In 2007, Crescent acquired 19 hotels, and this year the firm has wasted precious little time in snatching up additional properties. During the first week of 2008, the company bought the legendary 307-room Georgian Terrace Hotel in Atlanta; the 117-room Hotel Carteret, located just minutes from Manhattan in Carteret, N.J.; and the Baymont Inn & Suites International Drive/Orlando, which features 130 rooms near Walt Disney World and the Orlando Convention Center. Crescent’s strategy is to continue to focus on upscale and luxury properties across the country.  Crescent also plans to enhance its portfolio through development. As part of a joint venture, the company will build eight to 10 new hotels over the next two years, with plans to commence work on four properties over the course of this year. The partnership has already debuted its first property of the year, il Lugano (pictured) in Fort Lauderdale, which opened on Jan. 2.  On the whole, the U.S. lodging industry is thriving, having fully recovered from the debilitating downturn that began in 2001. While the pace of growth is expected to slow down a bit, the industry is still on target for success in 2008. Average daily room rates are anticipated to increase 5.3 percent this year, according to a forecast report by PKF Hospitality Research, and there should be a 4.5 percent jump in RevPAR.  Headquartered in Fairfax, Va.,Crescent is an owner, manager and third-party operator of hotels and resorts in the United States. Its portfolio of owned and operated hotels consists of about 40 properties accounting for over 7,000 guestrooms across 19 states.