Blackstone buys Columbia Sussex debt, may seize 14 hotels

NEW YORK CITY Blackstone Group LP may attempt to take control of 14 hotels owned by Columbia Sussex Corp. after the private equity giant bought junior debt on the properties.

Blackstone could seize the hotels as soon as this month, according to a Bloomberg report. Columbia Sussex has mortgage debt totaling US$539 million that comes due this month, and Blackstone has purchased portions of mezzanine debt tied to the mortgage that may allow it to take control of the hotels.

Crestview Hills, Kentucky-based Columbia Sussex owns or manages 66 hotels with about 23,000 guestrooms. Most of its hotels are branded by Marriott International, with Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Hilton Worldwide brands also prominent.

The company ranks 40th on the 2010 edition of HOTELS’ 325, the annual listing of the world’s largest hotel companies.