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BETHESDA, MD-DiamondRock Hospitality dipped its toe into what is becoming, once again, the very lucrative lodging market, with an initial $210-million capital raise through a recent private stock offering. The lodging investment company will use much of the proceeds to go on a shopping spree for properties across the US.

DiamondRock’s backing is not too shabby either. The new concern boasts a strategic relationship with Marriott International Inc., which now owns $30 million in shares of the company. About 40 investors participated in the initial equity raise.

“We believe that the strength of our management team, the recent turnaround in the lodging markets, and our strategic relationship with Marriott provide all the essential ingredients to rapidly grow our company,” says DiamondRock president and COO John L. Williams. Williams is right on the money with regard to the turnaround in the hotel industry. “Lenders have opened their coffers to hotels, giving hospitality investors the opportunity to benefit from historically low interest rates,” Marcus & Millichap reports in its Spring 2004 Hospitality Research Report. “This will aid in the hospitality market’s recovery, as fundamentals are expected to make substantial gains in the next 24 months.”

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