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DALLAS-In connection with its plans to acquire a $2.4 billion, 51- hotel portfolio from CNL Hotels and Resorts, Ashford Hospitality Trust Inc. will sell 18 of its non-core assets, totaling 2,399 rooms. The sales, some of which have closed or are under letters of intent or contracts, are anticipated to add about $170 million in gross proceeds to the REIT’s coffers or a net gain of approximately $33 million.

“We noted at the time of our agreement to acquire the 51-hotel portfolio, that de-leveraging our balance sheet would be a priority for us,” Monty J. Bennett, president and CEO of the Dallas-based Ashford, says in a press release. “In anticipation of this transaction, we’ve put in motion various de-leveraging strategies including single asset sales, portfolio sales and joint ventures. We monitor our portfolio and select assets for sale based upon growth prospects, portfolio allocation, shift in capital markets, capital expenditure requirements and opportunity costs.” Calls to Ashford were not returned by press time.

The properties on the block include a portfolio of seven Towne Place Suites. Also in the mix are Embassy Suites in West Palm Beach, FL and Phoenix; Fairfield Inns in Evansville and Princeton, IN; and Radisson Hotels at the Indianapolis Airport in Indianapolis and Covington, KY. The already sold and held for sale properties include the Doubletree Guest Suites in Dayton, OH, Hampton Inn in Horse Cave, KY, Marriott Trumbull in Trumbull, CT and Sheraton Iowa City in Iowa City, IA. Office buildings adjacent to the Hilton Fort Worth also are part of the portfolio.

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