Goldman Sachs & Co.’s primary real estate investment group has acquired 130 U.S. hotels for a whopping $1.2 billion. The Whitehall Street Real Estate Funds purchased the hotels from the Tharaldson family in a deal spearheaded by Gary Tharaldson, founder of Tharaldson Motels Inc., the nation’s largest independent hotel management and Development Company. Whitehall closed the acquisition on March 31 and announced the concluded transaction May 9.

Whitehall plans to grow the portfolio through acquisitions, according to a company statement. Tharaldson Property Management Inc., an affiliate of Fargo, N.D.-based Tharaldson Motels, will continue to manage the hotels acquired by Whitehall, in addition to its own chain of approximately 200 limited-service hotels. This will retain Tharaldson’s claim to being the nation’s largest independent hotel management company.

A team at Countrywide Commercial Real Estate Finance Inc., led by Warren de Haan, provided advice to the Tharaldson family on the portfolio sale.

Goldman Sachs manages Whitehall and is also Whitehall’s largest investor. Since 1991, Whitehall has invested approximately $14 billion of equity in real estate and other derivative investments with a gross cost basis of approximately $85 billion. Its investments have been made in 21 countries and include interests in real estate assets, portfolio companies, non-performing loans, mezzanine loans and other related products.