Loews to Buy Hotel Near Chicago Airport in Midwest Push

Jun 30, 2014 2:04 pm ET

(Updates with Amalgamated’s no comment in fifth paragraph.)

June 30 (Bloomberg) -- Loews Corp., the holding company controlled by New York’s Tisch family, agreed to buy the InterContinental Chicago O’Hare Hotel to expand its portfolio in the U.S. Midwest.

Loews is purchasing the 556-room property from New York’s Amalgamated Bank and expects the sale to be completed in late July, said Sarah Murov, a spokesman for the buyer. The hotel has more than 53,000 square feet (4,900 square meters) of meeting and event space, and is less than 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) from Chicago’s largest airport, Loews said in a statement today that didn’t disclose terms.

The Midwest “is an important feeder market for our properties all over the country,” Paul Whetsell, chief executive officer of Loews Hotels, said in a phone interview today. Customers from Minneapolis and Chicago “generate a lot of business for our properties all over the country.”

Whetsell’s operation has a portfolio of 21 hotels in locations including New York, San Diego and Orlando, Florida. The company has plans for a separate Chicago hotel, in the city’s downtown, to open next year, and announced weeks ago that it reached a deal to buy a 255-room property in Minneapolis from Graves Hospitality Corp.

The InterContinental Chicago’s former owner, River Road Hotel Partners LLC, filed for bankruptcy in August 2009, less than a year after the hotel opened. River Road had liabilities of more than $100 million, according to a court filing. Whetsell said Amalgamated Bank purchased the property after the bankruptcy. Amalgamated had no comment, said Samantha Berg, a spokeswoman for the bank.

Bad Timing

The developers “had an opening right about the time of the financial crisis,” said Whetsell. “It’s a very nice hotel in a good location but timing was everything to them. And, unfortunately, the timing was not good.”

Whetsell said Loews also plans to expand in Texas and cities on the West Coast including San Fransisco, Seattle and Portland, Oregon.

Loews also has units in the energy and insurance industries. The company advanced 0.5 percent to $44.02 at 2:02 p.m. in New York and has slipped about 8.7 percent this year after losses tied to its bet on natural gas.