Marriott selling 8 hotels for $181 million

Company moving to own fewer sites and manage more

January 03, 2002|By Meredith Cohn | Meredith Cohn,SUN STAFF

Marriott International Inc. announced yesterday that it is selling eight of its properties for $181 million, building on a company plan to own fewer and manage more hotels.

Though the company, and industry, have been hard hit by the events of Sept. 11, the sales were not specifically to raise money, said company spokesman Tom Marder. The company will still participate in hotel development and ownership to build the brand and control quality, but more hotel sales are likely.

"This is part of our ongoing strategy to grow and manage hotels," Marder said.

None of the hotels are in the Baltimore area, and the hotel chain will continue to operate them under long-term contracts with the new owner, Orlando, Fla.-based CNL Hospitality Corp.

CNL is the hotel industry investment and development subsidiary of CNL Financial Group Inc., one of the nation's largest privately held real estate investment and finance companies.

Marriott brand names are on four downtown Baltimore hotels including the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel, the Courtyard Baltimore Downtown, the Renaissance Harborplace Hotel and the Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor. Crestline Capital Corp., a Marriott spinoff company, recently sold the Courtyard but still manages the property.

There are nearly two dozen Marriott hotels in the Baltimore region, although Marriott does not own or manage all of them.

Sold or under contract are a Residence Inn, three Courtyard by Marriott hotels, three SpringHill Suites hotels and one TownePlace Suites hotel. They are located in California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Two of the sales have closed and the remainder are expected to close in the first three quarters of 2002.

Including the two just-completed sales, Marriott sold 18 hotels in 2001 for a total of $730 million.

Marriott, a bellwether for the industry, reported in the third quarter, which ended Sept 7., that revenue per available room (revpar) was down 10 percent. The attacks further hurt revpar, a key gauge of hotel performance.

"While 2001 was a particularly difficult year for the lodging industry, hotel investors' continued interest in owning our brands demonstrates the success of our business strategy," William J. Shaw, president and chief operating officer of Marriott International, said in a statement. "We are pleased that CNL Hospitality Corp. has chosen to expand its portfolio of Marriott International lodging properties and we look forward to continuing the strong long-term relationship between our organizations."

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