(Carl Cronan is editor of Real EstateFlorida.)

LAKELAND, FL-The new 117-room Hampton Inn & Suites here is under new ownership practically as soon as it has opened, with Greenbelt, MD-based Columbia Hospitality Inc. buying the hotel near Interstate 4 for an undisclosed price. Molinaro Koger Inc. facilitated the sale for Platinum Ridge Florida LLC, the hotel’s developer.

Andy Kern, senior vice president with Molinaro Koger in Washington, DC, says Platinum Ridge made an astute development decision in marketing the asset while it was still under construction. The transaction closed approximately 30 days after the hotel opened, he says.

“They identified an underserved location, obtained a premium select service brand and got this hotel out of the ground quickly with great success on opening,” Kern stated in a release. Lakeland’s Hampton Inn will continue its long-term franchise agreement with Hilton Hotels Corp. and will be managed by Baywood Hotels.

Lakeland is almost equally located between Tampa and Orlando along I-4, making it convenient to Gulf of Mexico beaches as well as Central Florida’s theme parks. The Hampton Inn & Suites is located along South Polk Parkway near the city’s major centers such as Florida Southern College and the headquarters of Publix Super Markets Inc.

Molinaro Koger, a leading hotel brokerage, advisory and capital markets firm, says it has structured more than $5 billion in transactions around the globe over the last 18 months. Its most recent local transaction was the $17.5-million foreclosure sale in May of the 500-room SunSpree Resort, also near I-4 and Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista.

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