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WASHINGTON, DC-The Hilton Garden Inn at Franklin Square, a limited service hotel that opened here in February 2000, should have new owners early in 2001. Ocean Properties Ltd. plans to purchase the 300-room hotel at 815 14th St. for $48 million, according to Bill Moyer, director of the hotel advisory group at Donohoe Real Estate Properties.

Bob Garcia, Ocean Properties’ comptroller, would not confirm the sale, noting only that the project is still under review. The firm, part of a 40-year-old hotel operating and development firm, is one of the five largest hotel companies in the US. Based in Portsmouth, NH and Delray Beach, FL, it manages more than 80 properties in North America ranging from independent luxury signature brands to limited service brands. The Hilton Garden will be its first Washington, DC-based property.

“The Hilton Garden Inn is a new hotel,” Moyer says. “It opened in February of this year. Meristar had taken on the management prior to opening. They set the stage of the opening. They did a wonderful job of staffing, prebooking and preadvertising. It’s taken off ever since.”

Meristar is the nation’s third largest hotel real estate investment trust, according to the firm’s announced third quarter 2000 filings with the SEC. As a limited service hotel, Hilton Garden Inn is more geared to the business traveler, Moyer says. The hotel has a casual restaurant, a small bar, a business center, and rooms situated with computer hook-ups.

Urban Development Group of Bethesda, MD and its financial partner ING Barings Investment Bank built the hotel. The property was recently placed on the market.

“I think that the people who built the hotel are essentially developers and their financial partner is pretty much strictly a financial partner,” Moyer says. “The developer would have liked to have kept it but the financial partner was driven by their needs to sell while the business climate is right.”

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