A-Rod a “key part” of investment group eyeing Trump’s D.C. hotel

Fund backed by Rodriguez, Adi Chugh and CGI Merchant Group could rebrand hotel as “socially conscious”

From left: Alex Rodriguez and Donald Trump along with the Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C. (Getty Images, Trump.com, iStock/Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal)
From left: Alex Rodriguez and Donald Trump along with the Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C. (Getty Images, Trump.com, iStock/Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal)

Retired baseball star turned property investor Alex Rodriguez has emerged as a “key part” of the group vying to buy Donald Trump’s Washington, D.C., hotel, the Associated Press reported.

Earlier reports had identified Miami-based CGI Merchant Group as the firm in talks to acquire the lease on the Trump International Hotel for $375 million, but people familiar with the deal told the AP that the buyer is actually the Hospitality Opportunity Fund, a $650 million investment vehicle established by CGI, Rodriguez and Adi Chugh in late 2020 to target struggling hotels at discount prices.

It’s not clear how much Rodriguez would contribute to the purchase.

Located at the Old Post Office building and owned by the General Services Administration — which must approve of any sale — the hotel’s sale for $375 million could net Trump about $100 million in profit, despite the property losing a reported $70 million during his four years in office.

While playing for in New York, Rodriguez was a frequent target of criticism from Trump, who described him in a 2013 tweet as a “druggie” who “disgraced the blessed @Yankees organization, lied to the fans & embarrassed NYC.”

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“This is just more proof that the only thing that matters to Trump is money,” author and Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio told the AP. “If A-Rod can bail out Trump and get him out of a sticky situation and help him turn a profit, he’s going to take that deal. He’d take it from Hillary Clinton.”

Part of the Hospitality Opportunity Fund’s strategy involves acquiring hotels whose valuations were hurt during the pandemic and rebranding them as “socially conscious” and “eco-friendly” properties, according to the AP.

Among other ventures, Rodriguez has focused on real estate investing since retiring from baseball, particularly in South Florida. Some of his investments include an Ocean Drive hotel in Miami Beach, purchased with the Hospitality Opportunity Fund, and the Grand Station Apartments.

Last month, Rodriguez partnered with Barry Sternlicht’s Starwood Capital Group to purchase a portfolio of single-family rentals in Palm Beach County for $22.8 million. The fourteen-time all-star has also been engaged in a lengthy legal dispute with his ex-brother-in-law, Constantine Scurtis, after a real estate investment partnership between the pair soured.

[AP] – Orion Jones