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Bill Gates' Cascade Investment already plays a role in managing a hotel, and now it will go full circle and own it, too. Seller Host Hotels, meanwhile, wants to reduce its ample presence in Atlanta.

Host Hotels & Resorts Inc. announced that it has sold the 244-room Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta and its office space in Midtown for $62 million to a private investment firm controlled by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

The five-star hotel, which opened in March 1997 at 75 14th Street, will remain a Four Seasons, according to the buyer, Cascade Investment. The hotel occupies the lower third of the 53-floor building, with 226 guest rooms and 18 suites.

Cascade spokesman Rick Matthews told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Friday the company is acquiring the hotel and 99,000 square feet of office space. The remainder of the building remains in the hands of residential condominium owners, Matthews said.

Straun Robertson, Host Hotels’ executive vice president and chief investment officer, said in a statement that the sale is part of the company’s plans to reduce its presence in “non-target markets.”

Earlier this year Host Hotel sold the city’s largest hotel, the 1,663-room Atlanta Marriott Marquis on Peachtree Center Avenue NE, for $293 million to an undisclosed buyer.

Host Hotels’ other metro properties include Atlanta Marriott Perimeter Center, Atlanta Marriott Suites Midtown, Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead, JW Marriott Atlanta Buckhead, the Ritz-Carlton in Buckhead and the Westin Buckhead.

Under the new ownership, Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta will continue to be managed by Toronto-based Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, which is owned jointly by Cascade, Kingdom Holding Company and Triples Holdings.

The Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta was one of three hotels in Georgia that made Forbes Travel Guide’s 2013 list of Star Award Winners. The others were The Cloister on Sea Island and The Lodge at Sea Island Golf Club on St. Simons.

The Four Seasons also has been very popular with visiting celebrities, including “Catching Fire” actor Liam Hemsworth this week.

In September, Rajiv Malhotra was named general manager at the hotel, replacing Dan Normandin, who was appointed general manager at the 221-room Four Seasons Hotel Miami. Malhotra had been general manager of Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora in French Polynesia.

This is the second Four Seasons hotel Cascade has acquired this quarter after buying the Four Seasons Hotel Houston in October, according to Michael Larson, chief investment officer. Cascade is based in Kirkland, Wash. Microsoft is based in Redmond, Wash.

According to Bloomberg, Cascade is solely owned by Gates and controls stakes in more than two dozen publicly traded and closely held companies. The company is funded by Microsoft dividends and share sales.

In addition to Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Cascade’s holdings include shares in Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the waste management company Republic Services Inc., Ecolab Inc., a provider of sanitation and health services, and the Canadian National Railway.

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Tags: atlanta, bill gates, four seasons, host hotels

Photo credit: Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta. Four Seasons

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