09/12/2012

Blackstone Dealing 3 Hilton Hotels in Florida

Blackstone is shopping three oceanfront Hilton hotels in Florida that are expected to fetch a combined $250 million.

The upper-upscale resorts, which encompass 912 rooms, are in Clearwater Beach, Cocoa Beach and Key Largo. The giant New York fund shop prefers to sell them as a package, but would consider offers for individual properties. The estimated value works out to $274,000/room. HFF has the listing.

Blackstone, the largest owner of hotels globally, has started to harvest investments from its older funds. Over time, that will result in a mass disposition of properties accumulated via takeovers of Hilton Hotels & Resorts and MeriStar Hospitality, as well as large portfolio purchases from Columbia Sussex and other companies.

In July, Blackstone agreed to sell four hotels in prime markets to DiamondRock Hospitality of Bethesda, Md., for $495 million.

Blackstone acquired the three Florida resorts in 2006 from MeriStar as part of

a larger portfolio. Several months later, the fund shop acquired MeriStar itself for $2.6 billion.

The Florida resorts are managed by Hilton, but Blackstone would consider structuring franchise agreements with a buyer that prefers to operate the properties itself. The hotels have beach access and resort-style amenities, including pools, restaurants, bars and recreational facilities.

Blackstone is offering the leasehold interest in the 416-room Hilton Clearwater Beach and outright ownership of the other two properties — the 296-room Hilton Cocoa Beach and the 200-room Hilton Key Largo Grande.

The Clearwater property, which opened in 1981, is on a 10-acre site along the Gulf of Mexico. It is near popular tourist destinations such as Pier 60, as well as Tampa and St. Petersburg. The resort has almost 20,000 square feet of event space.

The Key Largo hotel, which opened in 1985, has 15,000 sf of event space and a 21-slip marina. The offering provides a rare opportunity to pick up a sizable hotel in the Florida Keys, where development is restricted.

The hotel in Cocoa Beach, on Florida’s northeastern coast, is more of an opportunistic play for a buyer willing to bet on the market’s growth potential. The property, which includes 8,600 sf of meeting space, is near Cape Canaveral and Merritt Island. It opened in 1986.

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