IRVING, TX-With locations as the chief selling point, FelCor Lodging Trust Inc. has brought three Holiday Inns and two Crowne Plazas to market in an unencumbered flag and management offering. The vintage hotel product, totaling 1,800 rooms, is expected to catch $20,000 to $25,000 per key for the Holiday Inns and $50,000 to $60,000 per door for the Crowne Plazas.

“There will be a tremendous amount of interest,” Dennis Reed, regional vice president for the Tampa, FL-based Plasencia Group Inc., predicts to “There are niche buyers out there who are looking to position themselves in certain markets.”

Intercontinental Hotels Group of Washington, DC is the manager of each property, operating the flagged assets under a contract with a cancellation clause that FelCor decided to enforce in late 2003 by hanging “for sale” tickets on the holdings, Reed says. Under the IHG-FelCor pact, all flags will be lowered at trade time although they are good for another two to five years, he explains. The four-state package, which can be bought as a portfolio or cherry-picked, is all about location.

The 530-room Holiday Inn Nikki Bird Hotel is the closest facility to the Kissimmee, FL gate of Disney World, which gets referrals in a good neighbor relationship when the “Kingdom” is reaching capacity levels. The 408-room Holiday Inn Busch Gardens, neighboring Tampa’s popular amusement park, is across Fowler Avenue from University Mall, near the University of South Florida and within blocks of the VA Hospital and Moffitt Cancer Center.

The 224-room Holiday Inn North at 2800 Manchester Expressway in Columbus, GA is one of the few full-service facilities near the airport and close to Peachtree Mall, the city’s historic district, Riverwalk and 10 miles from Fort Benning.

The 350-room Crowne Plaza Hotel in Hartford, CT is a 15-story tower in the downtown near the 30-acre Adriaen’s Landing River Front project, set for completion in 2005 and bringing a 550,000-sf convention center, Connecticut Center for Science and Exploration, retail shops and residential housing. The other northern property, the 304-room Crowne Plaza Hotel in Secaucus, NJ, fronts the Hackensack River near the Meadowlands Racetrack.

Reed says the travel market is on the rebound in each city, delivering a well-timed sale with strong appeal for mid-market buyers. He predicts the no-minimum ask sale will produce the “typical striking price” for 1970-era, economy-structured Holiday Inns with exterior corridors, $20,000 to $25,000 per key, while the 1980s-built Crowne Plazas, both towers with interior corridors, will likely bring $50,000 to $60,000 per door.

FelCor, owner since 1997, did a $15-million rehab four years ago to the 14-story Secaucus hotel while the Hartford hotel, with Crowne Plaza Club executive-level rooms, was renovated in 1998. Reed says the package’s upside is tied to additional rehabs in keeping with the re-branding. “They are definitely value-adds,” Reed says.

The offering debuts just two weeks after FelCor handed Jones Lang LaSalle Hotel Group the contract to hawk the 216-room Minneapolis Downtown at 425 S. 7th St., one of four FelCor-owned Embassy Suites in the city, and the 268-room Cleveland Downtown at 1701 E. 12th St., the REIT’s only asset left in Ohio. Last month, the REIT’s portfolio churning, now in its second year, brought the sale of four hotels for $30 million and the $27-million purchase of the 132-room Holiday Inn-Santa Monica, a top-dollar draw with a Pacific Ocean view in a location with high barriers to entry.

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