CHICAGO-DiamondRock Hospitality Co. has agreed to acquire the 311-room Conrad Chicago Hotel at 521 N. Rush St. for $117.5 million, or $377,813 per room. This marks Bethesda, MD-based DiamondRock’s second Downtown purchase this year. In March, the company obtained ownership of the Chicago Marriott Downtown for $295 million.

William W. McCarten, chairman and CEO of DiamondRock, says the company remains “bullish” on the Chicago market, adding that the acquisition price represents 11.9 times the company’s projected 2007 hotel earnings before EBITDA. It being the second Windy City buy for the company, McCarten says it shows the city is “earlier in the recovery then many other major markets.”

The hotel was built in 2001 and opened under the Le Meridian banner, a brand of White Plains-based Starwood Hotels and Resorts. In connection with the rebranding of the hotel to the Conrad Chicago, which officially occurred in June of this year, the hotel is undergoing a $5-million upgrade. The hotel has a lobby bar, with an outdoor terrace and views of the Magnificent Mile. Rooms measure approximately 420 sf, and the property has 12,000 sf of meeting and conference space comprising 17 rooms.

McCarten says the hotel’s proximity to the city’s financial district and retail along Chicago’s Magnificent Mile “make the hotel an attractive destination for both weekday and weekend demand.” After the acquisition of the Conrad Chicago, DiamondRock will own 18 hotels with 7,989 rooms.

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