Auburn developer George Schott has sold off a portion of his retail real estate portfolio and is venturing further into hotel ownership.

On Tuesday, Schott closed on the sale of three retail centers he owned in Auburn for a total of $20 million in cash and real estate, according to a broker involved in the transaction. The sale included Hobby Lobby Plaza, Mt. Auburn Plaza and Nobility Plaza, said Craig Young, partner at CBRE|The Boulos Co. in Portland, who represented Schott in the sale. The buyers were Thomas Auger Jr. and Nancy Auger Hunt, son and daughter of the late VIP Discount Auto Center founder Thomas Auger Sr.

In mid-July, Schott purchased two hotels in South Portland and a third in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, for an undisclosed sum. The hotels include the Portland Marriott at Sable Oaks and the Holiday Inn Express & Suites South Portland, in addition to a Residence Inn in Portsmouth.

Schott said the purchase, from real estate investment firm Rockland Capital, doubles the size of his hotel portfolio from three to six properties. He also owns Residence Inn hotels in Auburn and Bath, along with the recently opened Homewood Suites by Hilton in Augusta. Schott’s partner in those properties is Florida-based Ocean Properties, which also manages the three hotels he purchased in July.

“I’m diversifying out of the retail and getting more into the hotel business,” Schott said.

Schott is well-known as owner of the Auburn Mall and other commercial properties in Maine, along with hundreds of units of former base housing around the former Brunswick Naval Air Station. He said the decision to sell off some of his retail holdings and purchase three more hotels stemmed from his excellent relationship with Ocean Properties.

“Ocean Properties has been managing those properties for years,” Schott said. “I have a very good management team to oversee the hotels.”

Initially, Schott said he had planned to use the proceeds from the sale of the three retail plazas as a down payment on the hotels, but a longer-than-expected closing process on the retail portfolio sale resulted in it going through after the hotel purchase was already completed.

The three plazas Schott sold to the Augers include several stores, restaurants and other businesses, including Hobby Lobby, Best Buy, Ruby Tuesday, Panera Bread, Aspen Dental, St. Mary’s Urgent Care and Town Fair Tire.

Under the terms of the sale, the Augers paid Schott $16.4 million and sold him the Applebees restaurant they owned in Auburn, which was valued at $3.6 million, said Young, the broker.

He said the retail property sale helped both Schott and the Augers achieve their investment goals.

“He (Schott) is looking to diversify his portfolio throughout New England, as opposed to owning so much in Auburn,” Young said. “Conversely, the Augers were looking to add to their holdings in central Maine.”