MetLife Acquires Fairmont Hotel in DC

The 415-room Fairmont Hotel in Washington, D.C., has changed hands, with MetLife, Inc. buying the luxury property from Ivanhoe Cambridge for $180 million.

By Gail Kalinoski, Contributing EditorFairmont hotel

The 415-room Fairmont Hotel in Washington, D.C., has changed hands with MetLife, Inc. buying the luxury property from Ivanhoe Cambridge for $180 million.

One of the premier hotels in the United States, the Fairmont is located at 2401 M. St. NW in Washington, D.C.’s West End adjacent to Georgetown. It was built in 1985 and renovated in 2002.

The hotel, which has a four diamond rating from AAA, has 28,000 square feet of meeting space and 4,800 square feet of executive conference space. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts will manage the hotel for MetLife.

“We’re very pleased to add such a high-quality and well-known hotel as the Fairmont Washington to our portfolio,” Robert Merck, senior managing director and global head of real estate investments for MetLife, said in a joint news release. “This was a great opportunity to acquire a luxury asset in a top tier market. It will complement our strategic approach to real estate and generate the kind of steady cash flows we need to meet our long-term policyholder obligations.”

Sylvain Fortier, executive vice president, residential, hotels and real estate investment funds at Ivanhoe Cambridge, said the transaction “brings us closer to the completion of our long-term hotel sales program.”

The Montreal-based firm is the real estate arm of one of Canada’s largest pension funds. Its portfolio consists mainly of shopping centers, offices and multi-family properties, many of them in the U.S. In late October, it announced it was part of a joint venture acquiring an 80 percent stake in The Fairmont Royal York, also known as the Royal York Hotel, in Toronto with InnVest Real Estate Investment Trust and KingSett Real Estate Growth L.P. No. 5. Ivanhoe Cambridge will hold a 20 percent interest in one of the largest first-class hotels in Canada when the deal closes early next year.

The insurance giant MetLife already owns several hotel properties, including The Ritz-Carlton San Francisco, which it bought in a joint venture last year with Thayer Lodging Group. The 336-key hotel is MetLife’s former San Francisco headquarters. It has been operating as a hotel since 1991.

MetLife, which has a real estate portfolio worth about $12 billion, also owns part of the Swan and Dolphin hotels at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, the Westin New York Grand Central and the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers. The firm acquired the hotel interests in 2013 when it bought Silverpeak Real Estate Partners’ 25 percent stake in the properties it co-owned with Tishman Realty Corp. MetLife already owned part of the Swan and Dolphin hotels, so the Silverpeak stake brought its ownership of the luxury Disney hotels up to 59 percent, according to The Wall Street Journal.