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Ashford Hospitality Trust And Its Joint Venture Partner Convert Leasehold Interest In The Renaissance Nashville Hotel To Fee Simple Ownership And Enter Into Lease For Additional Meeting Space

DALLAS, April 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Ashford Hospitality Trust, Inc. (NYSE: AHT) today announced that the Company, along with its joint venture partner, has entered into a series of Agreements with the City of Nashville and Davidson County relating to the 673-room Renaissance Nashville Hotel that include converting the joint venture's leasehold interest in the hotel to fee simple ownership and a new, 30-year lease for approximately 80,000 square feet of additional meeting and pre-function space.  The hotel is part of the Company's Highland Hospitality Portfolio of which Ashford has a 71.74% ownership interest. 

The Agreements include converting the joint venture's leasehold interest in the hotel, which was set to expire in 2087, to fee simple ownership, extending the current lease term of some adjacent facilities to 2112, and entering into a new, 30-year lease for 80,000 square feet of meeting space and pre-function space located at the existing Nashville Convention Center, which is adjacent to the hotel, all at no cost to the joint venture.  By entering into the lease for the additional meeting space, the hotel will now be able to offer over 110,000 square feet of self-contained meeting and pre-function space to accommodate larger groups.  Previously, the hotel offered 30,000 square feet of self-contained meeting space and had access to the newly leased space on an "as available" basis and paid additional rent for the use of that space.

Commenting on the announcement, Monty J. Bennett, Ashford's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said, "We are very excited to complete this transaction with the City of Nashville and Davidson County given all the development currently taking place in downtown Nashville, including the highly anticipated new 1.2 million square foot Music City Center just two blocks from the Renaissance and scheduled to open the middle of this year.  We expect the Renaissance Hotel to play a big part as Nashville becomes an even more attractive destination for groups and transient travelers alike.  These Agreements also highlight the capabilities of our asset management team as we seek to maximize the value of our assets for our shareholders." 

The hotel is currently undergoing a value-added renovation for a total expenditure of approximately $20 million and will soon undertake an additional renovation of the newly leased meeting space that will be funded from existing capital reserves.

The Renaissance Hotel is located in Downtown Nashville.  The property includes approximately 110,000 square feet of meeting and pre-function space, with two grand ballrooms, over 50 private access club floor rooms, a full service restaurant, two lounges, an indoor pool, gift shop, fitness room and business center.  The Renaissance Hotel is conveniently within walking distance of the Bridgestone Arena, Tennessee Performing Arts Center and the Ryman Auditorium.

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