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PHOENIX-After putting $1.6 million into a renovation, Everest Holdings has collected $24 million for the 250-room Crowne Plaza Hotel from WexTrust Capital LLC of Chicago. The seller began the repositioning play in March 2004, paying $5.8 million for the asset.

Steven D. Surgent, vice president of acquisitions for the Scottsdale-based Everest Holdings, calls the deal a “classic turnaround play,” pointing out that the cosmetic upgrades, repositioning and retention of Driftwood Hospitality Management LLC of Jupiter, FL significantly increased the hotel’s value. He points out, however, that there is still some upside in the 26-year-old asset at 2532 W. Peoria Ave.

“Occupancy is 70%. And compared to the competition, there’s still room to grow the rate,” Surgent says, adding occupancy was 50% when Everest acquired the hotel. He tells GlobeSt.com that WexTrust was interested in the upside potential, and plans to invest more than $3 million to renovate the rooms. Additionally, the nine-acre tract has enough room to add rooms and meeting space.

Surgent says the deal was in escrow for awhile due to a loan assumption. Although the loan is locked out for defeasance until March 2008, WexTrust already has plans to refinance. “Other bidders were willing to assume this financing and there was, frankly, a higher bidder on the property,” Surgent adds. “But WexTrust did a lot of due diligence, and they went through it several times, and provided the most comfort in terms of their homework.”

InterContinental Hotels Group of Atlanta will manage the hotel, which will continue under the Crowne Plaza flag. The hotel’s ADR is close to $100. Bill Murney, managing director with Molinaro Koger’s Phoenix office, negotiated the transaction between buyer and seller.

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