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Blackstone real estate giant buys Westin Harbour Island, Jackson's Bistro

TAMPA — The Westin Harbour Island hotel and its popular restaurant, Jackson's Bistro, are being sold for $46.5 million to Blackstone, one of the world's largest real estate investment firms.

Owner Maurice Wilder said Friday that the sale, due to close Sept. 3, was prompted, in part, by his disgust with an ever-increasing number of federal regulations.

"It causes a lot more work, and you've got to have other people to take care of that," said Wilder, whose Clearwater-based Wilder Corp. also recently sold 28,000 acres of agricultural land in Texas.

Wilder said Blackstone plans to immediately resell Jackson's, although he doesn't know who the buyer is.

The investment firm, whose holdings include hundreds of houses in the Tampa Bay area, did not respond to a request for comment. Blackstone has also invested heavily in the lodging sector, buying the Motel 6 and Studio budget hotel chains in 2012 and reportedly reaching an agreement recently to buy 47 Residence Inn and Homewood Suites hotels in major U.S. markets.

The 299-room Westin is one of the area's top hotels, and Jackson's, with its waterfront deck and proximity to Tampa's convention center, has been a go-to spot for bistro dining, sushi and live entertainment since it opened in 1997. Paris Hilton, Ashlee Simpson and professional athletes are among the many celebrities who have been there.

During the Republican National Convention in Tampa two years ago, AT&T hosted numerous special events at the restaurant and nightclub.

The Wilder Corp. owns and manages several offices buildings, including the Clearwater Tower, Airport Executive Center near Tampa International Airport and Westwood Center in Tampa's Westshore area.

The corporation currently employs 350 people but "getting help is a very hard thing these days," Wilder said.

Contact Susan Taylor Martin at susan@tampabay.com. Follow @susankate.

Blackstone real estate giant buys Westin Harbour Island, Jackson's Bistro 08/22/14 [Last modified: Friday, August 22, 2014 10:02pm]
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