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IRVINE, CA-MeriStar Hospitality Corp. of Arlington, VA has acquired the 484-room Marriott Irvine Hotel for $92.5 million, one of the highest prices per room in Southern California this year.MeriStar, a REIT, has signed an agreement to purchase the hotel from an affiliate of Cigna, with the transaction expected to close in the next 30 days, subject to customary closing conditions. Atlas Hospitality Group of Costa Mesa says the price of more than $191,000 per room is the highest paid for an Orange County hotel property this year and one of the highest per room in Southern California this year as well.

MeriStar says the 21-year-old hotel, which is adjacent to the San Diego Freeway at 18000 Von Karman Ave., will be operated by Marriott International under a long-term contract. The property is surrounded by a dense concentration of high-rise office space and is a half-mile from John Wayne Airport. The hotel features more than 30,000 sf of meeting and banquet space in addition to its rooms, restaurants, shops and other facilities. The hotel’s meeting space, food and beverage outlets, lobby and public spaces underwent a multi-million dollar renovation within the past 18 months, and MeriStar expects to invest approximately $7 million in additional property improvements over the next 12 months, primarily in the hotel’s guest rooms.Paul W. Whetsell, chairman and CEO of MeriStar, describes the acquisition as part of the REIT’s plans to buy larger properties with significant meeting space and strong brand affiliations in major urban markets or high-end resorts.

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