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ARLINGTON, VA-MeriStar Hospitality Corp. has decided to take advantage of existing low interest rates by finalizing a commercial mortgage-backed securities financing deal to the tune of $101 million. The hotel REIT relied on four of its properties to secure the CMBS loan, which carries a term of 10 years at 6.88% interest.

“This transaction represents another step in our effort to strengthen our balance sheet by adding long-term, fixed-rate debt at an attractive interest rate while reducing debt with higher interest rates and shorter maturities,” MeriStar CFO Donald D. Olinger explains. “We will continue to seek to reduce our interest costs and improve our credit statistics by taking advantage of opportunities in the market as they arise.”

Among the properties used to secure the financing is Arlington, VA’s 209-room Hilton Arlington & Towers, which is connected to the Ballston Common shopping complex. The property recently emerged from $2 million in renovations, and offers 8,000 sf of meeting space. Columbia, MD’s Sheraton Columbia Hotel and Conference Center is also part of the package. Occupying 10 acres along Lake Kittamaqundi, the 289-room facility features 12,000 sf of meeting and convention space. Sheraton Frazer Great Valley Hotel in Frazer, PA, and Louisville, KY’s Seelbach Hilton Louisville also helped secure the loan. Sheraton Great Valley, built in 1825, is a 198-room country inn-type establishment with 10,000 sf of meeting room space. Seelbach Hilton is a one-century-old luxury destination that just underwent a $10 million renovation and offers 4,200 sf of meeting space.

“We looked at assets that we knew we’d want to hold for the long-term, and the ones that have done well in the industry downturn over the last couple of years,” Bruce Riggins, MeriStar VP for strategic planning and analysis, tells GlobeSt.com of the criteria used to select the hotels that would back the loan. “We chose properties that have a pretty steady cash flow, despite the downturn.” While the majority of the proceeds will go to paying down debts carrying higher interest rates, some of the funds may be used for acquisition projects in MeriStar’s core markets.

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