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SCOTTSDALE, AZ-To take advantage of opportunities anticipated in 2009, third-party hospitality and asset management company Ardent Hotel Advisors brought Steven Surgent on board to create Ardent Hotel Investors. Ardent Hotel Investors is on the hunt for acquisition of upscale hotels exceeding 200 rooms with upside potential and valued between $25 million and $75 million.

“We have equity in place to take advantage of compelling opportunities right now,” comments Surgent, who came on board as Ardent Hotel Advisors’ principal in late 2008. He says he’s tracking some deals on the acquisition side but is still waiting for the right one.

“There’s still a disconnect between seller and buyer in terms of pricing,” he explains. “As sellers become more motivated as fundamentals deteriorate, pricing will come down.”

And that’s when Ardent Hotel Investors will be poised to take advantage of the market, within the next six to 12 months. Surgent tells GlobeSt.com the company already joined forces with what he dubs a “group of high net-worth individuals we’ve partnered with in the past.” He says Ardent Hotel Investors is also interested in forming other joint ventures, one of which will be finalized within the next couple of weeks. Also on tap is formation of a $200 million equity fund for acquisitions.

Surgent was previously vice president of acquisitions for Everest Holdings in Scottsdale and says having control over the assets once they were purchased was great incentive for him to move to Ardent. Meanwhile, Ardent Hotel Advisors principal Jim Evans has the management experience in hospitality product, Surgent says, but hadn’t done any investment. The result was positive synergy.

“I’m the first piece of the puzzle,” he comments, adding that a research analyst will likely be hired to help out once plans are further solidified and depending on how many deals are under examination. “On the operations side, as the number of properties continue to grow, we’ll hire someone,” he adds.

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