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PRAGUE-Locally based J&T Global and Buelens Real Estate, a Belgian company, have cut a deal with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide of New York for the management of a five-star hotel to be developed in an older part of this city, the capital of the Czech Republic. The new hotel will be a Le Meridien, Starwood’s newly acquired luxury international brand.

Le Royal Meridien Prague will be located in an existing building in an older part of town that dates back to the 11th century. The building currently houses a banking operation.

The hotel is slated to open in early 2009. It will have 165 rooms, including 18 suites. Amenities include meeting rooms; restaurant, bar and street cafe; a fitness club and parking facilities.

Prague has been experiencing a cultural renaissance since the breakdown of the Communist regime in 1989, according to Starwood officials. The city boasts many new galleries, shops, restaurants and cafes, and an eclectic mix of nightclubs and bars.

In November, London-based Le Meridien’s 32-property portfolio was sold to a 50-50 joint venture of affiliates of locally based Starwood Capital Group Global LLC and Lehman Bros. Le Meridien’s brand, management portfolio and franchise business, which covers 132 properties, was sold to publicly held Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc.Starwood Hotels and Resorts officials say the purchase price for its piece was $225 million, which is close to the amount of Le Meridien debt it holds (including accrued interest). Starwood Capital Group’s cost to acquire Le Meridien’s operating properties was not released by the privately held company and not otherwise immediately available. GlobeSt.com first reported a deal was in the works in April.

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