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CHICAGO-DiamondRock Hospitality Co. signed a deal Nov. 8 to acquire the 311-room Conrad Chicago Hotel at 521 N. Rush St. for $117.5 million, or $377,813 per room. Sonnenblick Goldman served as advisor to a joint venture between Westbrook Partners, Walton Street Capital and Lodging Capital Partners in the fee-simple interest sale of the property.Earlier this year, the company also purchased the Chicago Marriott Downtown for $295 million. This interest shows the significance of how the hospitality market is viewing Chicago, says Mark J. Gordon, managing director and principal of Sonnenblick Goldman and head of the firm’s International Lodging and Leisure Group.

“This shows the belief in the Chicago market,” Gordon told GlobeSt.com. “Chicago’s hotel industry is really well-positioned. There’s not a lot of new supply, and vacancy has really been absorbed. The market is positioned for significant growth.” Gordon also handled the deals for the Palmer House Hotel sale last year and the acquisition financing for the Drake Hotel two months ago in Chicago.

William W. McCarten, chairman and CEO of DiamondRock, said in an earlier interview that yesterday’s purchase shows the city is “earlier in the recovery then many other major markets.”The Conrad 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 underwent a $5-million upgrade. Conrad Hotels is the manager, one of Hilton Hotel’s luxury brands.

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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