Kimpton Hospitality Partners II, a $202 million equity fund, has acquired Philadelphia’s historic Lafayette Building with plans to convert the 11-story office tower across from the Liberty Bell into a 271-room, four-star Hotel Monaco. The vast majority of investors in the fund are college endowments.

Built in 1906, the Lafayette Building is located directly across from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. Construction is slated to begin in spring 2011, with a projected opening in the third quarter of 2012. The Hotel Monaco Philadelphia will be Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants’ second property in Philadelphia. Hotel Palomar and adjacent restaurant Square 1682 near Rittenhouse Square opened in October 2009 and is also owned by the company’s Kimpton Hospitality Fund II.

A pioneer in the hospitality industry for adaptive reuse of historic buildings, the plans of San Francisco-based Kimpton include the renovation and refurbishment of the distinctive building in the prestigious Old City section of Center City.

Upon completion, the new Hotel Monaco Philadelphia will feature a 120-seat restaurant and bar and approximately 12,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, including a 3,200 sq. ft. ballroom located on the ground floor with windows facing Independence Square. The hotel’s 271 guestrooms will include 23 suites and 25 King Spa rooms.

“Philadelphia continues to grow as a leading tourist destination as well as a hub for local and national business, which makes it a perfect place to invest and expand the Kimpton brand,” said Kimpton CEO Michael Depatie in a press release issued Oct. 19. “As with Hotel Palomar here, we’re also thrilled with the opportunity to revitalize such an iconic, landmark building as the Lafayette.”

Hotel Monaco Philadelphia will be Kimpton’s 12th adaptive reuse development, and the 10th Hotel Monaco in the Kimpton collection of boutique hotels. The largest, most established player in the boutique hotel segment, Kimpton currently operates 51 artfully designed hotels and 54 distinctive restaurants and lounges in the United States and Canada.

Kimpton is pursuing similar opportunities as the economy improves. According to Depatie, “We’re well poised at this point to move quickly on attractive deals, either to work with developers looking for equity partners or to rescue distressed properties. We are confident we can improve returns through better management of existing properties and the growing strength of the Kimpton brand.”