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Peabody Orlando Sale

Many hotel sales aren’t worthy of much attention. For this sale, though, that’s surely not the case.

That’s the word from tourism officials regarding the $717 million acquisition of The Peabody Orlando by Hyatt Hotels Corp. The sale of the 1,641-room hotel, which is connected to the Orange County Convention Center, was completed this month. (Say goodbye to the Peabody’s ubiquitous ducks.)

The property marks the Hyatt’s sixth in Orlando and the first one associated with conventions; it will be renamed the Hyatt Regency Orlando Convention Center.

According to officials at Chicago-based Hyatt Corp., the acquisition adds to the company “a very high-quality hotel in one of the most popular cities in the world and enhances the Hyatt Regency brand.” The Peabody recently completed a $440 million renovation that nearly doubled its room count and expanded its meeting-and-convention space.

In addition, the transaction is being watched as a possible sign that Orlando, while already a magnet for visitors, is becoming a place where big hotel brands feel comfortable. Last year, the Gaylord Palms, located adjacent to the Walt Disney World Resort, was sold to Marriott International.

That’s not such good news for smaller independent properties, but it could be a boon for the region. Larger hotel brands have the potential to fill more rooms and allow hotels to raise prices, providing a jolt to the local industry and the local economy.