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NCH-Transwest Properties Acquires the Westin La Paloma Resort
 and the Westin Hilton Head Island for about $310 Million 
By Christie Smythe, The Arizona Daily Star, TucsonMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Dec. 7, 2007 - The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa has been sold to a local property-investment firm, NCH-Transwest Properties.

The deal closed on Wednesday, according to information on file at the Pima County Recorder's Office. The company also purchased The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa.

NCH-Transwest President Michael Hanson said the properties were purchased together for about $310 million from a firm affiliated with the hotels' management company, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.

Hanson, a Tucsonan, said he is especially thrilled with the purchase of La Paloma, at 3800 E. Sunrise Drive.

"It's a first-class property, and we're looking to improve it even more," he said.

No changes in staffing or management are expected at the Tucson resort as a result of the sale, said Mark Lindsey, the resort's director of sales and marketing.

Lindsey added that he is pleased the new owners are locals.

"They really want to maintain La Paloma as a crown jewel of resorts," he said.

NCH-Transwest owns several properties in Tucson, including La Posada Lodge & Casitas, Embassy Suites Tucson-Williams Center and the Doubletree Hotel Tucson at Reid Park.

The firm also owns Hotel Penasco Del Sol in Puerto Penasco, Sonora.

The deal includes the 27-hole golf course. Hanson said his company plans to add 15,000 square feet to the ballroom and to do some guest-room renovations, starting next summer. The resort recently completed $6 million in renovations, with a new 4,300-square-foot meeting room and lobby enhancements.

NCH-Transwest received more than $230 million in financing to purchase the hotels, including $21.5 million from Ashford Hospitality Trust and $209 million from JPMorgan, according to a press release from Ashford Hospitality Trust.

Read more on local business deals and news all day at www.AzStarBiz.com.

Did you know...

The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa, 3800 E. Sunrise Drive, opened in 1986. This year it ranked 121st among Southern Arizona's largest employers with 436 full-time-equivalent positions in the Star 200 survey.

--Contact reporter Christie Smythe at 434-4083 or csmythe@azstarnet.com.

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To see more of The Arizona Daily Star, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.azstarnet.com.

Copyright (c) 2007, The Arizona Daily Star, Tucson

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