JER Partners Acquires the Westin Michigan Avenue Hotel

Virginia-based JER Partners announced
today that it has acquired the landmark 751-room Westin Michigan Avenue
hotel in Chicago from a subsidiary of Westin Hotels Limited Partnership for $137 million. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. will
continue to manage the hotel under its Westin flag, which has flown at the
hotel for nearly 25 years. Starwood owns approximately 24.9% of the
outstanding limited partnership interests in WHLP. With a premier location at the north end of Chicago’s famous “Magnificent
Mile” the Westin Michigan Avenue provides guests with convenient access to
Chicago’s business districts, famed shopping, fine restaurants and myriad
cultural activities as well as the city’s breathtaking lakefront, beaches,
running and cycling paths.

The hotel is in the final phase of a $22 million facelift, which includes
new guestrooms outfitted with Westin’s iconic Heavenly Beds(R), as well as
a new lobby, designed in keeping with Westin’s “Modern Luxury” design
sensibility. By March 2005, the hotel will complete renovations on its
35,000 sq. ft. of banquet and meeting rooms, as well as guestroom
corridors. The hotel will also debut a new WestinWORKOUT(R) Powered by
Reebok fitness facility featuring new state-of-the-art fitness equipment
and a Cardio Theater.

“JER is excited about the capital improvements underway at the hotel,”
stated Cia Buckley, Senior Managing Director of North American Investments
at JER. “It is our intention to continue to commit capital resources to
the hotel, with the aim of improving the overall guest experience. In
addition, we are delighted to have Starwood managing the hotel. Their
experience in the hospitality industry, generally, and at this property,
specifically, will ensure continued success for everyone involved.”

“We are thrilled to continue to manage this landmark property which has
given the Westin brand such a prominent presence in Chicago,” said Sue
Brush, senior vice president of Westin Hotels & Resorts. “Its location
across from the Hancock Building and in the heart of the grand shopping
along Michigan Avenue is second to none.”

JER Partners has launched five private equity real estate investment funds
since 1997 with over $2 billion in committed equity capital. These funds
together with their financial partners have to date made gross investments
of $6 billion in real estate assets. Most of JER’s investments are in
office, retail, multi-family and industrial properties. Other areas of
investment include Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities (“CMBS”),
hospitality, healthcare related real estate and mezzanine financing.

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JER Partners is the private equity investment arm of the J.E. Robert
Companies, a real estate investment management company with over 23 years
of experience in sourcing, underwriting and managing a broad spectrum of
real estate, debt products and equity investments in North America and
Europe. Since 1991, together with its financial partners, the J.E. Robert
Companies has invested in or managed over 160 transactions with a gross
purchase price of $11 billion.
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