JER affiliate sells Chicago airport hotel for $125m

In its second hotel deal this week, the private equity real estate arm of JE Robert Companies has sold the only four-star property near O’Hare International Airport for $125m.

An affiliate of McLean, Virginia-based JER Partners has agreed to sell the Westin O’Hare in Rosemont, Illinois for $125 million (€98 million) to Ashford Hospitality Trust, according to a statement released by the Dallas-based REIT. The deal is expected close within 70 days.

The 525-room hotel is located in the Chicago suburbs within close proximity to O’Hare International Airport, one of the nation’s busiest. Ashford’s management said in a statement that they plan to pump $6 million into the property and are banking on the planned $15-billion airport expansion to boost the local hotel market.

The Westin O’Hare, opened in 1984, saw the completion of a $14-million renovation in 2003 that included a complete refurbishment of the guestrooms, lobby and a majority of the 43,000 square feet of meeting and function space. It is the only four-star property in the O’Hare submarket. JER acquired the property in October 2005 for $106 million.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts will continue to manage the property.

Earlier this week, JER bought the 210-room, full-service Sheraton Phoenix Airport Hotel for an undisclosed sum with plans to renovate the property, located near Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and Arizona State University.

In March, JER sold the four-star Westin on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago to LaSalle Hotel Properties for $215 million. It acquired the property in January 2005 and gave it a $22 million overhaul, improving the guest rooms, lobby, and meeting spaces.

JER closed its third North America-focused private equity real estate fund on $823 million in October 2004. As of the end of March, it had invested approximately 60 percent of the fund’s capital.