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LANSDOWNE, VA-Twelve-year-old Lansdowne Resort has gotten a new owner, courtesy of a recent $115 million transaction between buyer Bethesda, MD-based LaSalle Hotel Properties and seller Northbrook, IL’s VMS Lansdowne Ltd. Partnership, an affiliate of VMS Realty Partners. The multi-million deal–which leaves LaSalle in full possession of the 207-acre lodging and recreation property–includes Lansdowne’s $102.8 million price tag, and an additional $12.2 million for amenities currently under construction. The transaction also calls for the new owner to assume $62.8 million in outstanding debt on the property.

LaSalle is getting its money’s worth it appears. Lansdowne Resort features a 296-room hotel–itself, valued at an estimated $59 million, according to Loudoun County records–an 18-hole Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed championship golf course, and a 45,000-sf of conference center. Among the conference center’s offerings are 30,000 sf of meeting space and 15,000 sf of pre-function space, which includes a 9,500-sf ballroom, a 2,300-sf amphitheater, and a 3,200-sf pavilion. There are also the requisite dining facilities–four restaurants, in this case–as well as two swimming pools, three tennis courts, a health club, the Spa at Lansdowne, jogging trails and so on.

Located in the Potomac River Valley area, the luxury destination is just 25 miles outside of Washington, DC and 12 miles from the Washington Dulles International Airport. “We like the asset because it fits with our strategy of owning and investing in hotels in urban markets,” LaSalle vice president for finance and investor relations Raymond Martz tells GlobeSt.com. “It’s a drive-to destination resort and it’s easily accessible from other big cities such as Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York.”

LaSalle’s purchase also includes an undeveloped 349-acre parcel on the Potomac River near the resort property. It is here where LaSalle will spend $22 million to develop a second 18-hole championship golf course to be designed by golf great Greg Norman and accompanying amenities, all of which are expected to be up and running by mid-2005. Finally, LaSalle will throw in an additional $4 million to the property improvement package for upgrading the hotel suites and public areas over the next year-and-a-half.

LaSalle is not letting the post-September 11 slump in the hospitality market hinder its expectations for success. “Additional housing development is currently planned for Loudoun County,” Martz adds. “About 2,100 to 2,200 new homes are expected to be part of the master development in that area.” LaSalle expects a significant portion of its future clientele to originate from this residential market. “Also, we don’t rely on just one customer base,” he explains. “We pull from high-end visitors looking for a spa resort, and we also appeal to the high-end meeting market. What sets us apart from other lodging REITs is our focused strategy of investing in high-end resort properties in urban areas, and the fact that we’re very conservative.”

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