"That deal has closed," one source tells GlobeSt.com, a notionsupported by a mortgage filed on behalf of KW Cambridge PropertyLLC, a group led by principal Robert J. Karol of Wayland. Karol didnot respond to inquiries regarding his group's purchase, nor didseller Richard L. Friedman, the well-known owner of Carpenter &Co. whose hospitality resume includes the famous Charles Hotel inHarvard Square--1.5 miles from Hotel Tria--plus the Liberty Hotelin Boston, an upscale operation built on the site of the infamousCharles Street Jail. Prior to flipping the Hotel Tria, Carpenter& Co. advanced a plan to add more than 30 rooms at a buildingnext door, a project one source estimates will begin later thisyear.

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Given the potential value of the expansion and lack of a deed onthe sale, it is unclear how much was paid for the Hotel Tria by KWCambridge, but sources insist that Karol has assumed control of thefacility, and is said to be hiring a new general manager, althoughthat could not be confirmed. The contract with Best Western extendsto the end of the year, one source tells GlobeSt.com, offeringpotential for the hotel to be re-branded over the near term.

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One broker familiar with the Alewife property describes thehotel as a well-maintained, mid-priced operation poised for growththanks to the emergence of the area as a diverse business districtwith a concentration of life sciences, professional services andtechnology companies. Leisure travel and a draw from local collegesalso benefits Hotel Tria, market watchers say, as graduations--suchas nearby Harvard University's--are sending rates approaching $350per night presently, according to one estimate. The normal range issaid to be between $110 and $200 per night, depending on theseason.

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Although the pace of hotel sales has been slower than in recentyears, brokers such as Earle Wason of Wason Associates inPortsmouth, NH, say there is still plenty of equity available forprivate groups to buy hotels. "The end of 2007 and beginning of2008 has been very good for us," says Wason, who is sportingnumerous listings throughout New England. The firm in recent monthshas brokered a hotel deal in central New Hampshire for $13 million,closed on a 150-room Best Western in Mystic, CT; and traded aComfort Inn in Nashua, NH—coincidentally, a property constructed byKarol and former partner Daniel Wolf.

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Wason could not offer any insight into the Hotel Tria sale, butmaintains that hotels under $20 million are finding willinginvestors, especially for quality product. Karol and Wolf hadassembled an impressive fiefdom of hotels in New England duringtheir tenure, including two in Vermont, with most of the portfolioultimately purchased by Hersha Hospitality Trust. The Hotel Triahad been run for most of its existence by the Lingos family, whooperated the property until 2004 as the Homestead Motor Inn, whenit was switched to a Best Western.

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