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Brunei Prince Expected to Buy Hotel Bel-Air

May 27, 1995|KAREN KAPLAN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The Hotel Bel-Air, the luxurious pink stucco property that fetched $110 million in 1989 in the nation's most expensive per-room hotel acquisition ever, is expected to be sold to the Sultan of Brunei's brother, the hotel's general manager said Friday.

But Frank Bowling, also a vice president of the hotel, emphasized that he had gotten no official word that the sale has been completed. An official announcement is expected from the hotel's Japanese owners Thursday, he said.

However, real estate brokers and consultants familiar with the five-star hotel said it has been on the market for many months and that Brunei's Prince Jefri would be a logical buyer. They estimated that the 11-acre hotel in the exclusive Stone Canyon neighborhood near Westwood could fetch between $60 million and $70 million.

Prince Jefri's brother, the sultan, owns the Beverly Hills Hotel, which is scheduled to reopen next month after extensive remodeling.

Officials of the holding company formed by the Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan to assume ownership of the property declined to comment, and representatives of Prince Jefri's investment company, Kava Holdings Inc., could not be reached.

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that sources close to the deal said the sale has been completed at a price of slightly more than $60 million.

The Sazale Group of Tokyo purchased the hotel in 1989 for a price equivalent to $1.16 million per room. The Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan, Sazale's principal creditor, assumed ownership last year after the investment group could no longer make payments on the hotel.

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