Investment group pays $60 million for Wheeling Westin
The Chicago Westin North Shore hotel, a jewel of Wheeling's redevelopment efforts, is being purchased for $60 million by a group that plans to spend another $5 to $6 million refurbishing it, according to a Chicago attorney representing the buyers.
Rockbridge Capital, a Columbus, Ohio, hotel investment firm, and TPG Companies, a Cranston, R.I., company that invests in and manages real estate, joined to purchase the hotel, said Ronald Cope, who heads the Land Use department for Ungaretti and Harris law firm.
Lenders had taken ownership of the 412-room, 17-story hotel in 2011. Wheeling Village President Dean Argiris said Tuesday the hotel is doing well and that the foreclosure does not reflect on it but on its former owners.
"I think it's great," Argiris said of the purchase, which he expects to close soon. "These guys are talking about putting $6 million into sprucing up the rooms and the lobby, and they seem to be a real stable investment group."
When Cope and Dana Tsakanakis, senior vice president of Rockbridge, appeared before the village board Monday, they said the hotel would continue to be a Westin. Argiris said he had heard that a 20-year extension was being worked out with Starwood, the firm that runs the hotel.
The village board Monday approved an "estoppel" agreement that means the village holds no encumbrances on the property, including no requirement to build a parking garage, said Cope.
The village issued $24 million in bonds to help fund the $100-million project when the hotel was built in 2006. Michael Mondschain, director of finance and administrative services for the village, said the hotel generates more than $1 million in taxes annually for the village, including those used to repay the bonds.
Investors are not purchasing outlots around the hotel currently, but that is a possibility, Tsakanakis said Monday.
"It's a good deal for Wheeling and for the buyers," Cope said. "It's a nice hotel."