Marcus Hotels and Resorts, a division of The Marcus Corporation (NYSE: MCS), today announced that it has sold the historic, 186-room Westin Columbus (Ohio) hotel for an undisclosed amount into a joint venture between the company and Waterton Tactical Real Estate Fund I, a discretionary, value-added real estate fund sponsored by Chicago-based Waterton Commercial LLC.
Marcus Hotels and Resorts will own a 15% minority interest in the joint venture and will continue to manage the hotel under a long-term management agreement, as well as oversee a major, multi-million dollar renovation of the property. 'Upon completion of the renovation, the Westin Columbus will be the premier property within the downtown Columbus market,' said Bill Otto, president of Marcus Hotels and Resorts.
'This is our second joint venture with Waterton, following the recent joint-venture acquisition with them of the Sheraton Madison (Wisconsin),' Otto said. 'Part of our continuing growth strategy is to co-invest with sophisticated investors like Waterton. The sale of the Westin Columbus into a joint venture was contemplated when the property was initially acquired and will free-up capital and allow us to continue to aggressively pursue other joint-venture opportunities. In addition, we will continue to pursue conventional third-party management contracts.'
'The Westin Columbus purchase is consistent with our acquisition criteria to invest in hotels that have strong repositioning potential and are located within the top 50 markets,' said Rich Silverstein, vice president-investments of Waterton Commercial. 'We will commence our renovation program in mid-2007 with completion anticipated by year-end 2007. Marcus Hotels and Resorts has in-depth experience in restoring and operating historic hotels, which made them an ideal partner for us in this transaction.'
Otto noted that the repositioning program will include a significant renovation of all of the guest rooms, in addition to creating an improved dining experience and upgrading public spaces. This work will be done in phases to minimize disruptions to guests. 'We will retain all the historic architectural elements of this classic hotel while discretely adding all the modern amenities of the 21st Century. We have owned and operated the hotel for nearly a year and have completed all the planning for its restoration. We do not anticipate any changes in staffing or our day-to-day operations.'