Meridia Capital makes first foray in Europe

The Spain-based international private equity hotel investment firm with links to London’s Patron Capital has acquired a property in Paris to convert into a boutique hotel.

Meridia Capital has acquired an eight-story property next to the Paris Opera Garnier and Gallerie Lafayette for an undisclosed sum.

The triangular property, built in 1870 and located in the 9th arrondissement, will be converted into a luxury boutique hotel from mid 2009, the firm said in a statement. It acquired the 8,500 square meter asset from Spanish real estate company Nozar.

According to Meridia, the deal represents the first European acquisition for the firm following the recent purchase of the Ritz-Carlton and Crowne Plaza hotels in Santiago, Chile.

Barcelona-born chairman and chief executive Javier Faus, also a partner at London firm Patron Capital and a former co-owner and chairman of the Hotel Arts Barcelona in which Patron invested, said the firm would continue to explore additional opportunities around the world.

The firm is acquiring and developing hotel real estate in urban and resort areas for its first fund, Meridia Capital Hospitality I, which closed early 2007 with €150 million of commitments.

According to the company brochure, Meridia launched in September 2006 to target hotel real estate in Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean and selected emerging markets such as Morocco, Turkey and Thailand. India is also on the list. It has set a minimum threshold of 80 percent of the portfolio to be operated by internationally recognised brands.

The Ritz Carlton in Santiago is a five star 205-room asset that opened in 2003, while The Crowne Plaza is a 5-star hotel with 293 rooms. It was built in 1981 and totally refurbished in 2001.