MeriStar Announces Sale of Florida Hotels

Real estate investment trust MeriStar Hospitality Corp. announced Wednesday that it would sell nine of its Florida hotels to an affiliate of The Blackstone Group, an investment banking company. Properties in the sale include the 46-room Best Western Sanibel Island Beac Resort; The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club; 296-room Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront; 426-room Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort; 96-room Sanibel Inn; 32-room Seaside Inn; 200-room Sheraton Beach Resort Key Largo; 30-room Song of the Sea; 579-room South Seas Island Resort; and 243-room Sundial Beach Resort. The properties total a 1,948-room sale, and the company announced it would receive approximately $367 milllion in cash in the deal and said it would use the funds to reduce debt. "We are pleased to be able to take advantage of the strong real estate market in Florida and unlock the substantial values in these assets for our shareholders," said MeriStar President and CEO Paul Whetsell in a statement. The company retains hotels under such brands as Hilton, Sheraton, Marriott, Ritz Carlton, Westin, Doubletree and Radisson.

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