The 14-story property is located at 17th and Walnut streetswithin the Liberty Place complex that includes Liberty Place Oneand Two, the tallest office buildings now in Center City, plus ashopping mall and four-story underground parking garage. It is sixblocks from the Pennsylvania Convention Center, a distance thatwill be halved when the Convention Center expansion is completed.The hotel opened in 1990 as a Ritz-Carlton and was reflagged as aWestin in 1999.

HEI's renovation will encompass all existing rooms, publicareas, the 14,500-sf meeting space and add another four guestsuites. Plans also call for a repositioning of the restaurant"under a to-be-announced re-concepting plan," according to an HEIstatement. Following the renovation, "we expect the Westin to befirmly positioned as one of the most competitive luxury hotels inthe city," says Clark Hanrattie, SVP and chief investmentofficer.

Calling Philadelphia "a dynamic and thriving urban market withstrong and diverse demand generators [and] high barriers to newcompetition," Steve Mendell, EVP of acquisitions and development,says the Westin "aligns perfectly with our investment strategy.…The market has gained momentum, following the recession severalyears ago." Merritt Hospitality, an HEI subsidiary, will operatethe hotel.

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