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BETHESDA, MD-LaSalle Hotel Properties, a local REIT, and LaSalle Investment Management in Chicago are forming a $250-million equity pool to invest in US hotels. The duo will lever the fund to achieve $700 million of purchasing power.

The JV fund will be investing in areas with high barriers to entry as well as a handful of key markets in which the REIT typically invests, Justin Boutwell, vice president of finance for LaSalle Hotel Properties, tells GlobeSt.com. These key investment destinations include Boston, New York City, Washington, DC, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle. But, there’s also interest in high barrier-to-entry markets like Miami, Denver, Portland and Phoenix.

According to a press release, the JV is an 85%-15% ownership structure, with LaSalle Investment Management kicking in the majority of equity. LaSalle Hotel Properties will receive additional income for providing acquisition, asset management, project redevelopment oversight and financing services.

Boutwell says the anticipated acquisition period is up to three years with the JV expecting to last up to seven years–a relatively short amount of time to acquire hotels. It is still a question, though, whether the JV will be able to acquire properties that meet its investment criteria, at least in the mid term. For several months, there has been a disconnect between buyers and sellers in the hotel industry and other asset classes due to sellers clinging to 2006 cap rates and prices. Boutwell says he will be discussing this issue further in the company’s earnings call scheduled for Thursday.

According to Jeff Jacobson, CEO of LaSalle Investment Management, LaSalle Hotel Properties’ hotel investment platform complements its own investment criteria and capabilities. “Our firm has long had a successful relationship with LaSalle Hotel Properties’ management team and this venture further demonstrates our commitment to providing innovative investment strategies for our clients,” he says in the press release.

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