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ALEXANDRIA, VA-Change is afoot at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center now that a joint venture involving Amstar Group LLC and Davidson Hotel Co. has claimed the hotel as its own. The partnership traded $93.1 million for the 500-room hotel, and will shell out an additional $9.5 million in upgrades. The all-cash purchase marks the third joint transaction for Denver’s Amstar and Memphis-headquartered Davidson. “We are interested in commercial real estate investments across the country with a particular focus on key markets in which the fundamentals are strong, and the Metropolitan Washington, DC is one of these markets,” Amstar executive director Doug Wiley tells GlobeSt.com.

Hilton Alexandria Mark Center, not to be confused with the city’s 241-room Hilton Alexandria Old Town–which sold to LaSalle Hotel Properties last year for $59 million–will continue to operate under the Hilton flag with Davidson serving as property manager. Amstar CIO Gabe L. Finke says “this opportunity exemplifies our investment philosophy.”

Developed in 1985 at 5000 Seminary Rd. off Mark Center Drive, the hotel is in the West End of Historic Alexandria right off Interstate 395 and less than seven miles away from Washington, DC and Washington Reagan National Airport. Additionally, the 43-acre Winkler Botanical Preserve sits nearby. Hilton Alexandria provides a business center and fitness facility, as well as a tennis court and swimming pool. There is also a hair salon the premises and all-day dining options at the Finn & Porter steak, seafood and sushi restaurant. Renovation activity is on target to begin within the next few weeks.

Alexandria County records list Hilton Alexandria’s current assessed value at $50 million, an increase of almost $5 million over 2002 and 2003′s figure of $45.6 million. The hotel industry in the area is thriving. According to Marcus & Millichap’s Hospitality Research Report for Spring 2005, “the hospitality sector in gateway cities such as New York and Washington, DC, will continue to outperform other domestic markets, as foreign travelers continue to take advantage of favorable exchange rates.” While specifics of the competition to buy the hotel are not readily available, research shows that there is an increasingly intense interest in the acquisition of such properties in the Metropolitan Washington, DC area. “On the investment side, institutions accounted for more than 80% of dollar volume last year,” the report concludes. “These buyers will continue to target assets with 200-plus rooms, where the median price rose to $150,000 per room last year.”

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