Swissotel sells its four properties for $450 million New York-based Swissotel has sold a 99% interest in its four company-owned properties in New York, Chicago, Atlanta and Boston to Blackstone Real Estate Partners II L.P. -- an affiliate of The Blackstone Group, New York -- for about $450 million. Also included in the sale was a 25% interest in Swissotel's U.S. management company, Swissotel Management (USA). Atlanta-based Hodges Ward Elliott represented Swissotel and brokered the transaction. The hotels were purchased with long-term hotel management contracts with Swissotel continuing to manage. Together, the four hotels have a total of more than 1,970 rooms.

Swissotel sold the hotels to help fund its growth strategy, according to an industry source. The Blackstone Group was attracted to Swissotel's unique niche in the hotel industry and its high profitability.

Former NRA headquarters in D.C. to be converted to a Marriott Construction is beginning this month on a $10 million project to transform the 100,000 sq. ft. former headquarters building of the National Rifle Association in Washington, D.C., into a 150-room Marriott Courtyard. Brennan Beer Gorman/Architects and Brennan Beer Gorman Monk/Interiors, both in New York, are designing the project for the building's owner, The Bernstein Cos. of Washington, D.C. Construction is set to be complete by March 1998.

Wyndham to manage $60 million new luxury hotel in Chicago Dallas-based Wyndham Hotel Corp. will manage a new $60 million, full-service Wyndham Hotel in Chicago's "Magnificent Mile" corridor. The project, which is being developed by Chicago-based Oxford Capital Partners Inc., is the first of its kind converting first generation Class-A office space into a luxury hotel. This will be the seventh Wyndham property in Chicago and the first downtown. Crow Investment Trust is expected to co-invest in the project, which is slated to open in fourth quarter 1998.

Holiday Inn changes legal name to Holiday Hospitality Corp. Atlanta-based Holiday Inn Inc. has changed its legal name to Holiday Hospitality Corp. as a result of the sale of 61 North American properties to Bristol Hotel Co. It will continue to trade as Holiday Inn Worldwide.

CapStar takes $450 million line of credit and loan facility CapStar Hotel Co., Washington, D.C., has entered into a $450 million secured revolving line of credit and term loan facility. Structured as a five-year, $350 million revolving loan and a seven-year, $100 million term loan, the credit facilities will be used to repay approximately $218 million in existing senior and subordinated debt, to fund future hotel acquisitions and for other general purposes. Lehman Brothers arranged the new loan facility.

San Francisco property sold for hotel conversion San Francisco-based Jaymont Properties Inc. has sold its office property at 500 California in San Francisco to Omni Hotels, Corpus Christi, Texas, to be converted to a full-service, 360-room Omni Hotel with 15,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and a four-star quality restaurant. The total consideration of the transaction was $35 million. Grubb & Ellis represented both the buyer and the seller in the transaction. (For more information, please see our San Francisco review in the September 1997 issue.)

Historic hotel property being revived back to its glory days The Orlando, Fla.-based hotel company Enterprise Hotels, headed by Richard Kessler, has purchased a historic property in St. Augustine, Fla., for $1.5 million. Once a grand turn-of-the-century hotel belonging to Henry Flagler, the Flagler Casa Monica Hotel was turned into the St. Johns County Courthouse in the 1960s. Now the building, which was originally opened in 1888, will be renovated into one of Kessler's "Grand Theme Hotels," a unique hotel portfolio concept developed by Kessler.

The property will have 120 guest rooms and suites plus several two-story suites with lofts and a penthouse apartment. Other plans in the works include 4,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, a swimming pool, spa, restaurant and street-access retail space. Renovations will begin in early 1998 with a reopening slated for 1999.

Send your hospitality industry news via the Internet to Associate Editor Carrie King at carrie_king@intertec.com. And check out our Web site at www.internetreview.com for updates on hotel transactions.