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CHICAGO-JE Robert Cos. has agreed to pay $137 million for the 751-room Westin Michigan Avenue hotel, winning a bidding war that started more than a year ago, and at $75 million. The real estate investment management company plans to keep the Westin flag at the Magnificent Mile property, with a subsidiary of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. staying on to manage it.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and Kalmia Investors were locked in a contentious battle over control of the hotel, which went on the market in early 2001 after undergoing a renovation. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide holds a 24.9% stake in Westin Chicago Limited Partnership, owner of the hotel at 909 N. Michigan Ave., but has signed off on the sale to JER Acquisitions, an entity of JE Robert Cos. Also, Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin Financial Advisors, Inc. has issued a fairness opinion in favor of the deal.

Located across Delaware Street from the John Hancock Building, the Westin Michigan Avenue is slated to undergo a renovation beginning in December. Meeting rooms and ballroom spaces are being renovated, and a 1,400-sf workout facility is being added. The 751 rooms have been recently renovated, with high-speed Internet access among the additions.

JE Robert Cos., whose $40-billion real estate portfolio is spread over 30,000 assets, acquired the 309-room Hilton Ontario Airport Hotel earlier this year for $30 million, with plans for a $5-million renovation. Meanwhile, it has its 309-room Marriott Grand Cayman Resort on the market.

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