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WASHINGTON, DC-The books have closed on a deal in which ownership of the famed Watergate Hotel was transferred to Monument Realty. In a transaction valued at a rumored $55 million, the local real estate company acquired the 251-room hotel from a partnership under the governance of New York-based investment firm Blackstone Real Estate Advisors. According to District records, the property has a proposed 2005 value of $39 million.

Situated in Foggy Bottom along the Potomac River, just a stone’s throw from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the 39-year-old Watergate Hotel boasts such desirable features as 10,000 sf of flex meeting space, 5,000 sf of exhibit space, a nearly 6,400-sf ballroom, a fitness center and the celebrated restaurant Aquarelle. But under Monument’s ownership, the hotel–which is part of the same complex of the office building that was the scene of the 1972 burglary that ultimately led to President Richard M. Nixon’s resignation–will be a hotel no longer. Monument will redevelop the famous lodging facility into an upscale 133-unit co-op property, and rename it Belles Rives at the Watergate. The $3-million endeavor is scheduled to reach completion by 2006.

“The economics of a first-class hotel operation in this location is economically unfeasible,” Monument principal Jeff Neal tells GlobeSt.com. “Converting it to residential occupancy, we expect and hope, is a profitable reuse of the property. We think the neighborhood will benefit from the work we’re going to do.”

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