Marriott selling Edition hotels to Abu Dhabi investor

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Marriott International sold the 173-room London Edition and reached binding agreements to sell Edition hotels in Miami Beach and New York that haven't opened yet.

The buyer, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, will pay $815 million for all three hotels. The London Edition opened in October. The Miami and New York hotels are slated to open this year and next year, respectively. The residential component of the Miami property isn't included in the sale.

Marriott, which last August said it would sell all three, is engaging in what's referred to as an "asset-light" strategy, in which hoteliers shed hotels while keeping their management contracts in order to free up cash for further expansion. Marriott said the price will be about equal to the development costs of the three hotels.

"This transaction is a key component of our strategy to build the Edition brand," Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson said in a Jan. 7 statement. "We look forward to managing these hotels for many years."

The sale also reflects new momentum for a brand that has encountered some turbulence since Marriott and partner Ian Schrager developed the concept in 2007.

With development funding constricted by the economic downturn, the brand got off to a slow start. The first Edition opened in Honolulu in 2010 but was deflagged the following year after a management dispute with the owner. A 74-room Edition opened in Istanbul in 2011.

Marriott says it also has Edition hotels planned next year for Abu Dhabi; Gurgaon, India; and Sanya, China. Additionally, Marriott last year acquired a site on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood that's slated for a 190-room Edition.

The company says the London Edition is "exceeding expectations," though it declined to be more specific about its performance.

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