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American-Armenian Investors Open $42 million
Armenia Marriott Hotel in Yerevan, Armenia


Largest US Direct Investment Ever in Armenia's Privatizing Economy

BOSTON, Sept. 21, 2004 - Representing the largest US direct investment ever in the Republic of Armenia, the historic Hotel Armenia, located in the republic's capital, Yerevan, has opened as a 5-star, world-class Marriott hotel following a multi-million dollar restoration.  AK Development, the Boston-based investor group of American and other "Diaspora" Armenians, defied all odds to manage the privatization process, luring critical investment dollars and instituting "best of" practices previously unknown in this Caucasus-region nation, once a part of the Soviet Union.

The Armenia Marriott Hotel is the first project in Armenia to receive funding through the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), a US government agency, and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), an arm of the World Bank.  OPIC is the senior lender for the project, extending an $18 million loan; IFC is a $4.9 million equity partner. AK Development, which paid $10.4 million for the hotel and attendant office and development parcels, secured this funding for the $42 million project following a more than two-year due diligence process. Hotel operator Marriott International is a lending participant, with $1.3 million of 
Armenia Marriott Hotel Yerevan
1 Amiryan Street
Republic Square
Yerevan 375010
subordinated debt.

"The Armenia Marriott Hotel, Yerevan, will have a strong demonstration effect and promote investor confidence in the wake of Armenia's transition to a market economy," said Mr. Edward Nassim, Director of IFC's Central and Eastern Europe Department.

With Armenia's independence in 1991, and its difficult transition in the following decade away from obsolete, unproductive Soviet-era practices, a group of Armenian Diaspora sought a permanent investment that would stimulate their ethnic homeland's emerging market economy and serve as a model for future foreign investment there. Recognizing tourism as a powerful engine for economic change, a hotel investment fit their investment criteria.

In 1997, the Hotel Armenia was offered for sale through a privatization tender offer process conducted by Merrill Lynch International with a key stipulation that the winning bidder partner with an internationally recognized hotel brand.  AK Development was formed to acquire and restore the hotel and was represented by East-West Financial Services of Washington, D.C., a specialist in project financing in emerging markets with extensive business dealings with Marriott International.  Investors closed on the property in August 1998, with additional financing secured by early 2000 and renovations begun in 2001.

The Armenia Marriott Hotel is nearby historic attractions and boasts 225 guestrooms, approximately 14,000 sq. ft. of meeting space; five restaurants; fitness center; retail shops; and modern services previously unavailable to travelers to Armenia.

Armenia is located in the Caucasus region and bordered by Turkey, Iran, Georgia and Azerbaijan.

The Armenia Marriott Hotel is located in Yerevan on Republic Square, 375010 Armenia. For hotel information call 374 1-599000. 

AK Development
Also See: $350 Million in Hotel & Tourism Projects in Eurasia Creates Opportunities for U.S. Companies / May 2002
Renovations Underway at the 255 Room Outrigger Reef Fiji Resort; Investment in Fiji will Promote Tourism Growth / Feb 1999

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