CEO Bill Blackham has moved REIT into upscale hotel sector.
REIT fundamentals remain healthy.
Venerable Washington REIT has been remade since CEO Paul McDermott took over in 2013.
Combined $8.4 billion REIT to focus on New York, Washington markets.
Deal will enable REIT to enter new markets, including Las Vegas and Northern California.
Lodging REIT CEO Justin Knight says 2016 is off to a solid start.
First-quarter earnings present positive outlook, analysts say.
Shopping center REIT approaching the 20th anniversary of going public.
Transaction includes spinoff of Houston assets into new publicly traded REIT.
Thomas Baltimore, Jr. is leaving RLJ Lodging Trust to become president and CEO of Hilton's planned REIT.