RLJ buys Doubletree Metropolitan Hotel, New York City

NEW YORK CITY RLJ Development has acquired the 755-key Doubletree Metropolitan Hotel in Midtown Manhattan for US$335 million, or US$444,000 per key.

RLJ, controlled by Black Entertainment Television network founder Robert L. Johnson, purchased the property last month from the former ownership group that includes Highgate Holdings, Whitehall Real Estate Funds and Rockwood Capital LLC. That group acquired the hotel in 2003 for US$110.5 million and spent US$35 million renovating it, The Wall Street Journal reports.

“These assets are compliant with our investment strategy to buy high-caliber real estate,” RLJ Development President Thomas J. Baltimore Jr. tells the Journal. “In New York, we have significant demand growth and high barriers to entry.”

Bethesda, Maryland-based RLJ is paying US$135 million in cash and putting US$200 million of new debt on the property, while US$250 million in existing debt is being paid off as part of the acquisition.

The 50-year-old hotel was designed by famed architect Morris Lapidus and is noted for its undulated glass façade. The property will continue to be managed by Highgate.