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Liberty Group scooping up Tampa area hotels

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Published:   |   Updated: June 21, 2014 at 09:47 AM

The Tampa-based hotel developer and operator Liberty Group has acquired five hotels in the Southeast, bringing the company's total hotel fleet to 27.

When the company's Aloft hotel opens in downtown Tampa this July, that number will grow to 28.

In the meantime, Liberty acquired the five other from the Intercontinental-branded properties from a series of lenders and banks that had taken back possession of the hotels from the previous operators. Most of the sites will retain their brand names, though one will switch flags. The purchase price was not yet disclosed, but Liberty Chief Executive Officer Punit Shah confirmed the original development costs for the properties. They include:

♦ Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Bonita Springs, a 108-room select-service hotel originally built for $10.8 million.

♦ Candlewood Suites, Charleston, South Carolina, a 123-room extended-stay hotel originally built for $12.7 million.

♦ Candlewood Suites, Athens, Georgia, a 97-room extended-stay hotel originally built for $9.8 million.

♦ Candlewood Suites, Bluffton/Hilton Head, South Carolina, 125-room extended-stay hotel originally built for $12.3 million.

♦ Holiday Inn & Applebee's Bar & Grill, Tallahassee, 150-room, full-service hotel originally built as a Sheraton for $15 million that will be re-branded to a Ramada Plaza Tallahassee Capitol Hill hotel.

Liberty has made waves in the Tampa business community, particularly by purchasing the former Mercantile Bank building in downtown Tampa, and is now renovating the structure to become an upscale Aloft hotel set to open this July. Liberty has also partnered with Convergent Capital on a bid for the Channelside Bay Plaza property — a bid that's become contentious as Port Tampa Bay spurned that offer and instead put in its own offer to take over that property directly. The two sides are locked in an ongoing series of legal actions.

As for the five Southeastern hotels in the deal announced Friday, those are being acquired through a $75 million fund set up to acquire properties.

rmullins@tampatrib.com

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Twitter: @DailyDeadline

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