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(Carl Cronan is editor of Real Estate Florida.)

ORLANDO, FL-FelCor Lodging Trust Inc. is putting three of its Florida hotels up for sale as part of an overall group of eight properties across the US. The Irving, TX-based REIT disclosed the move in its third-quarter operating results this past week.

Two Holiday Inn hotels, on International Drive in Orlando and along the Atlantic Ocean in Cocoa Beach, are identified as candidates for sale, along with an Embassy Suites hotel in Jacksonville. Others put up for sale outside Florida include an Embassy Suites in Dallas, a Doubletree Guest Suites in Raleigh/Durham, NC and three unconsolidated Holiday Inns in Kansas.

FelCor stated that the two Florida Holiday Inns were originally designated for redevelopment with residential condominiums, but market conditions within the state no longer make those projects feasible. The company recorded a $40-million impairment charge related to the Orlando and Cocoa Beach hotels in the third quarter.

“Florida is our second-largest state in terms of room count, so we have quite a bit of exposure there already,” Steve Schafer, vice president of strategic planning, tells GlobeSt.com. He notes that the attempted sale of the hotels is part of its usual long-term plan of actively managing its portfolio to grow shareholder value.

Schafer will not disclose the hotels’ asking price, but adds that FelCor will retain the properties if prospective buyers’ bids are not considered sufficient. “We’re not distress sellers,” he says.

The Holiday Inn Orlando-International Drive Resort is the largest of the three Florida hotels being put up for sale by FelCor, with 652 rooms in 14 stories within proximity to area theme parks. The Holiday Inn-Oceanfront in Cocoa Beach has 500 rooms, while Embassy Suites-Bay Meadows in Jacksonville has 277 suites.

FelCor has 14 total hotels throughout Florida, including four others in Orlando, plus two in Fort Lauderdale and one each in Boca Raton, Deerfield Beach, Miami, St. Petersburg and Tampa. The company has 85 all-suite hotels throughout North America, of which 70 have been renovated since last year.

During the third quarter, FelCor posted funds from operations of $65.1 million, in line with guidance. Revenue per available room increased 2.6% from a year earlier, with renovated properties picking up 5.4%, while average daily rate remained steady and occupancy increased 2.3%.

“The US economy is experiencing an accelerated downturn, leading to weaker consumer spending and tightened restrictions on corporate travel, which has affected lodging demand,” Richard A. Smith, FelCor president and CEO, stated in the company’s latest report. He added that the company is limiting capital and development spending as a way of managing the ongoing economic downturn, as well as restructuring hotel-level costs and general administrative expenses.

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