Japanese Group Buys Marriott Hotel in Century City

Times Staff Writer

Another choice piece of Los Angeles real estate--the newly opened, luxury J. W. Marriott Hotel in Century City--has been quietly sold to a Japanese realty and development firm for $85 million.

Sumitomo Realty of New York purchased the 375-room, 17-story building and certain leases on the property, according to Jonathan Q. Loeb, general manager of the J. W. Marriott. However, Marriott Corp. of Bethesda, Md., retains ownership of the land and continues to manage the luxury facility as a Marriott.

The actual sale to Sumitomo was completed in October but was not made public until Monday when Sonnenblick-Goldman Corp. of California, a Century City real estate investment firm, disclosed that it had put the deal together. It had declined to identify the buyer.

The Marriott is the latest prime U.S. hotel property to be snapped up by Japanese investors. Aoki Corp. purchased Westin Hotels & Resorts, which operates major American hotels including the Century Plaza Hotel, located just north of the Marriott.

Last October, Seibu/Saison Group paid $2.27 billion to buy the Inter-Continental Hotel chain, which includes the Mark Hopkins in San Francisco, the Mayfair in London and part ownership in the Willard in Washington. Both Japan Air Lines and All Nippon Airways operate hotels in the United States.

Opened Last June

The J. W. Marriott, which opened last June, is on Avenue of the Stars, next to Fox Plaza, where former President Ronald Reagan will have an office.

Travel & Leisure magazine awarded the Century City Marriott, which took nearly two years to build, its "Best Performance by Major Chain" award last month. Half the rooms are suites.The hotel also has a 150-seat restaurant and lounge, conference rooms, a 300-car parking garage and a recreation center.

A spokesman for Marriott in Bethesda said the Century City hotel was put in a limited partnership in which Sumitomo is the general partner. He added that about 90% of the chain's hotels are not owned by Marriott.

Sonnenblick-Goldman called the purchase price "one of the highest paid per room for a hotel in Los Angeles."

Greg Skjonsby, spokesman for Sonnenblick-Goldman, explained: "Marriott typically sells parts of the properties they develop so its investors do not have to carry the burden of costs associated with construction and financing."

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