CENTURY CITY, CA-Next Century Associates, a locally based investment group headed by Michael Rosenfeld, has acquired the 726-room Century Plaza hotel from Orange County-based Sunstone Hotel Investors for $366.5 million. The Century City-based buyer has acquired the property in a joint venture with an entity of the D. E. Shaw group, a global investment firm with its US headquarters in New York City.

Rosenfeld, who is the founder and CEO of Century City-based Woodridge Capital Partners, says that the buyers view the 19-story hotel as a “one-of-a-kind” property. He cites its location in the heart of Century City within walking distance of new luxury residential towers, the Westfield shopping center and 10 million sf of office complexes, including the recently completed 2000 Avenue of the Stars directly across the street.

Sunstone bought the hotel in 2005, launched a $36 million improvement program and installed Global Hyatt as the operator. Rosenfeld says that the new owners’ plan for the property will be to “expand its appeal to the growing entertainment industry now based in Century City…as well as to business travelers, affluent shoppers and international visitors.”

Hyatt will continue to operate the hotel, which opened in 1966 and sits on 5.75 acres at 2025 Avenue of the Stars. The property has extensive gardens as well as four outdoor swimming pools with private cabanas, a 20-room spa and several restaurants.

Bob Alter, executive chairman of San Clemente, CA-based Sunstone, says that the sale follows a renovating, rebranding and repositioning of a property that was an underperforming asset when the Orange County-based hotel REIT bought the Century Plaza. Sunstone acquired the property in October 2005 for approximately $293 million before expenses and renovation costs.

Century City was created in the early 1960s as a master-planned community on 176 acres that were originally part of the backlot of the 20th Century Fox Studios. Rosenfeld’s Woodridge Capital Partners, founded in 1988, invests in hotel, residential, commercial and industrial assets throughout the US and Canada. Rosenfeld recently sold the 24-story Carlyle on Wilshire, a luxury residential tower on Wilshire Boulevard, to New York City-based Elad Group for $140 million.

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