PHOTO | Gregory Seay
The Hilton Hartford.
Hersha Hospitality Trust has sold two Hartford hotels for $8.5 million to the Waterford Hotel Group in exchange for ownership of the Mystic Marriott Hotel and Spa.Philadelphia-based Hersha is a real estate investment trust working in the hospitality sector that owns upscale hotels in Washington, D.C., Boston, Philadelphia and Miami and in urban gateways on both the East and West coasts.Along with other unrelated transactions, Hersha swapped ownership of the Hartford Marriott and Hilton Hartford with interest in the Mystic hotel, said Pete Majeski, manager of investor relations and finance.Jay H. Shah, Hersha's CEO, said exiting ownership of the Hartford hotels enabled the company to recover 100 percent of its equity investment, while adding the "high-quality" Mystic Marriott to its portfolio.Len Wolman chairman and CEO, of the Waterford Hotel Group, said the transaction was a portfolio change that made sense, since it held only a minority stake in the Mystic Marriott."We've been invested in Hartford for a long time and we really like the new leadership in Hartford with [Mayor] Luke [Bronin]. We are very encouraged about the future and see future growth in the market.," Wolman said.In 2005, the Waterford Hotel Group gutted, renovated and repositioned the Hilton. In 1999, it developed the Hartford Marriott from scratch and opened it in 2005. The company has recently spent "significant" sums to renovate both properties, Wolman said, and is encouraged by developments at at UConn downtown, the Dunkin' Donuts baseball park and the XL Center.