Inland Completes Hotel Portfolio Deal Amid Slowing Investment Market

Inland American Lodging Corp. has completed the acquisition of a 22-hotel portfolio on behalf of Inland American Real Estate Trust Inc., including both upscale and upper upscale properties.All together, Inland American paid about $900 million for the 4,061-room portfolio to seller RLJ Urban Lodging Fund, an affiliate of RLJ Development L.L.C., a privately held hotel owner controlled by Robert Johnson, billionaire founder of Black Entertainment Television.According to Inland American Lodging, the properties are in markets with strong barriers to entry and which are less sensitive to the slings and arrows of economic misfortune, including Boston, Baltimore, Chicago and Washington, D.C. The hotels are currently operated by Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt, among others.The deal comes at a time when the tough credit environment has slowed down such major hospitality portfolio transactions, though not stopped them. Just last week, as reported in CPN, the Chartres Lodging Group L.L.C. of San Francisco completed its purchase of a 4,867-room Adam’s Mark hotel portfolio from St. Louis-based HBE Corp. in a deal that had been pending for most of last year.HVS’s Preliminary 2007 Survey of Major U.S. Hotel Transactions report, released in January, notes that last year was characterized by “a conspicuous slowdown in transactions activity during the latter half of 2007, concurrent with the credit crunch.”  The survey found that there were 225 hotel major sales in 2007, marking a 10 percent declinein number of transactions from 2006.Also, the major hotel transactions represented an estimated total sales volume of about $11.2 billion in 2007, compared to $15.5 billion in 2006. The survey estimates the average price per room to be $200,000 for a major transaction in 2007, roughly 2 percent less than the 2006 average.