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HOUSTON-With a 512-key portfolio securely in its grasp, a joint venture is preparing to renovate and rehab four hotels. The assets, including the Houston Intercontinental AmeriSuites, will end up under the new Hyatt Place flag, with the JV securing $49 million to put the plan into motion.

Working together for the first time, FFC Capital Corp. and Houston’s Camden Hospitality Group assembled the portfolio in two deals with separate sellers, one of which is from San Antonio. Fred Branovan, president and COO with FFC, says renovations will begin within 30 days and take about seven months to complete.

“The Hyatt Place is competitive with the Courtyards and Hilton Garden Inn,” Branovan explains. “There are about 30 of them out there right now and they’re planning for around 127 to be converted by year’s end.”

Branovan says the Pittsburgh-based company is looking for additional opportunities to convert, both with and without Camden. “We don’t have an exclusive arrangement with them. But the joint venture is a good one and we’d love to do more deals with them,” he says.

Mark Popovich, managing director for Holliday Fenoglio Fowler LP in Pittsburgh, says a good deal of interest was generated from potential lenders, partly because of the product’s quality and partly due to the sponsors’ strength. Popovich arranged a three-year, adjustable-rate loan through conduit New York City-based lender. Morgan Stanley Mortgage Capital Inc. The interest rate is a floating rate of 165 basis points over Libor.

“They think there’s significant upside in the project,” Popovich tells GlobeSt.com. “The question for the ownership was when these things stabilize in the next 12 to 18 months do they put permanent financing on it or sell them? They didn’t want to lock themselves today with a lot of long-term debt.”

The properties are the 128-room AmeriSuites Houston Intercontinental at 300 Ronan Park Place in Houston, built in 1997; 128-room AmeriSuites Arboretum at 3612 Tudor Blvd. in Austin, built in 1999; 135-room AmeriSuites Grand Prairie at 1542 N. Hwy. 360 in Grand Prairie, built in 1998; and 128-room AmeriSuites San Antonio Airport at 7615 Jones Maltsberger Rd., built in 1999.

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