UNITED STATES - LaSalle Investment Management and public Reits LaSalle Hotel Properties have formed a $700m (€455.3m) joint venture to invest in US hotels.

A total of $250m of equity has been placed in the JV, split to give LaSalle Investment Management 85% of the equity ownership while the remaining 15% goes to LaSalle Hotel Properties.

The JV is a first for LaSalle Hotel Properties. The public REIT had not previously be involved in a joint venture with multiple properties, as all of its past relationships have been built on single assets.

And LaSalle Investment Management is of the opinion the time is right to place capital into hotels, according to its managing director Dan Witte.

"Given the state of the real estate capital markets, we believe this will be a timely vehicle to capitalize on lodging opportunities," said Witte.

The investment strategy is to invest in the upper luxury segment of the hotel market as the JV partners think these types of hotels will perform well over the next few years.

The focus of the venture will be to investing in existing properties based mainly in eight US major markets: Washington DC, Chicago, Boston, New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle.  That said, the one resort market they would consider is Miami.

Many of the deals for the JV are expected to be existing properties which are already seen are performing well but there may be some investment in turnaround situations as well.

Acquisition period for the joint venture is for three years while the total life of the relationship is up to seven years.