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Amstar Group Acquires the 296 room Hilton Pasadena for $65 million

By Kevin Smith, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Calif.
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News

Jan. 5, 2006 - PASADENA -- Amstar Group, a Denver-based real estate private-equity firm, announced Wednesday that it has acquired the Hilton Pasadena hotel.

Amstar purchased the 296-room facility for $65 million in an all-cash transaction from The Carlyle Group, another private-equity firm, and Davidson Hotel Co.

The hotel will retain the Hilton flag and Davidson will stay on as an equity investor to manage the property, officials said.

Carlyle and Davidson acquired the hotel in May 2004 and subsequently invested $5 million to renovate the lobby, restaurant and guest rooms, as well as upgrades to the property's exterior areas.

"We're going to continue with renovations to improve the rooms, public areas and the meeting space," said Gabe Finke, Amstar's chief executive officer. "We'll spend about $3 million on the new renovations."

John A. Belden, president and CEO of Davidson Hotel Co., said his company was "thrilled to be part of a team that continues to seek and find hotel acquisition opportunities" nationwide.

"The kind of association that has been created between Davidson and Amstar is exactly what's needed to succeed in the hospitality industry today," he said. "Together we have achieved terrific results and we expect that to continue at the Hilton Pasadena."

The sellers were represented by Arthur Buser, managing director of Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, while Amstar represented itself in the transaction.

Boasting 27,000 square feet of meeting space, the Hilton Pasadena is located at 168 S. Los Robles Ave. in the heart of Pasadena within walking distance of the convention center and the Old Pasadena area.

Finke said he considered the hotel to be a particularly attractive asset for Amstar's real estate portfolio.

"We like Pasadena because of the strong growth and supply constraints," he said, alluding to the fact that little undeveloped land is left that could accommodate another hotel in the city.

Amstar previously partnered with Davidson in its June 2005 acquisition of the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center in Alexandria, Virginia, which is currently undergoing a $10 million renovation.


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Copyright (c) 2006, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Calif.

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