BALTIMORE-Ashford Hospitality Trust has sold the Marriott Hotel BWI Airport–a 309-key full-service facility–to a European-based joint venture. According to a source close to the deal, which closed last week, the hotel traded hands for more than $65 million. The buyers are a joint venture of the Bank of Scotland and Capital Hotel Group, called Hibernia Worldwide Hotels BV.

The hotel will still operate under the Marriott flag and will be managed by the company under a long-term agreement. Molinaro Koger brokered the deal on behalf of Ashford. Robert Koger, president of MK, structured the transaction with Mark Morris, SVP, of the firm’s Washington, DC office.

Koger tells that Hibernia’s acquisition–its first in the US–is indicative of foreign investors’ growing footprint in the US hospitality industry. In fact, he goes so far as to say that European and Middle Eastern capital will be the dominant buyers in this asset class next year.

“Assets in major US markets will find it difficult to close deals if foreign capital is not part of the picture,” he says. “Domestic buyers have been having issues with debt sources and so are looking for lower pricing. Meanwhile, foreign buyers are stepping into the top spots on a lot of the deals we are making.”

In general, foreign capital markets and lending sources have been more forgiving of the credit crisis in the US, he continues, in large part because the yields, thanks to the dollar’s exchange rate valuation, are stronger for foreign buyers compared to domestic buyers, all other factors remaining equal.

The BWI Marriott Hotel, which was recently renovated, is the biggest full-service property in the market, according to MK. Facilities include one of the largest ballrooms in the area and two restaurants.

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