The Des Moines Marriott Downtown Hotel, informally known as the "Ruan hotel" leading up to its completion in 1981, will be sold to Chicago-based Singerman Real Estate LLC.
The board of directors of City Center Corp., the ownership group made up of the Ruan family and other investors, has approved the sale, which is expected to close Friday, according to a release from the Ruan company.
The final sale price was listed at $33.6 million. The Marriott was proposed as a dramatic urban redevelopment project and though the late John Ruan and the Ruan family were the principal owners, the overall ownership group included some of Greater Des Moines' most prominent business leaders.
The Singerman group is working with Marriott International to finalize any potential changes to the management of the property, according to the release.
The Des Moines Marriott Downtown opened in 1981 after the late visionary John Ruan, along with other key Des Moines business leaders, worked against strident initial opposition to the project to see the hotel developed in the heart of downtown Des Moines.
"The Ruan family has maintained majority ownership control of the property since its inception. We are proud of our long-term relationship with Marriott and the benefits this hotel brought to our ever-evolving city," John Ruan III, chairman of the Ruan companies and City Center Corp. board member, said in the release.
Earlier this year, the board of City Center Corp. explored an expansion of the property, but after 35 years ultimately determined the best business decision was to sell the hotel.
Other Des Moines-area Marriott properties are not connected with City Center Corp. and are separate entities operating in Central Iowa.
Steve Zumbach, who became the Ruan family attorney several years after the hotel was built, pointed out that John Ruan and other business leaders stepped forward more than three decades ago to make a significant private investment in the hotel project that could not secure other financing.
"They made a huge contribution to the community when we needed a hotel and the market wasn't producing," he said. "The private sector stepped forward and the hotel was an important part of the revitalization that has been going on in this town for over 30 years. We would be a much different downtown if that hadn't happened."
In 2012, the hotel finished a four-year, $13 million renovation and a year later announced another $2 million renovation of the second and third floors.
According to its website, Singerman is a 6-year-old "opportunistic real estate investment firm focusing on acquiring and investing in properties, real estate loans and operating companies" and "invests through a closed-end fund primarily capitalized by a diversified group of institutions."