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CHICAGO—Seven years ago, the trade in Chicago hotels was booming, with about $1.2 billion worth of transactions in 2006, up from less than $200 million in 2003. This trade crashed along with everything else in 2009, but researchers from Jones Lang LaSalle say the sector’s profitability and profile has brought big investors back in a big way and the trade could soon approach those pre-recession levels. Since 2011, 87% of the buyer volume in the sector came from REITs and private equity, and based on deals in the pipeline, the city could see more than $1 billion in transactions between now and the end of 2014, according to JLL.

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