Developer, operator sought for Fort Baker conference center Uncle Sam wants you. Or rather, the National Park Service, in partnership with the Golden Gate National Parks Association, is looking for a developer and/or operator to assist in the conversion of Fort Baker to a conference and retreat center.

Founded as an Army post more than 100 years ago, the site - at the northern entrance to San Francisco Bay, adjacent to the Golden Gate - is scheduled to be vacated by the military by 2001.

A Request for Qualifications package should be available this month, and a decision will be made by the end of the year. More information is available by calling (415) 561-3030, ext. 2246, or online at www.nps.gov/goga/ftbaker/ftbaker.htm.

HMBA installs officers, Koger becomes president HMBA: America's Hotel Broker installed new officers at its January meeting. Robert T. Koger, president of Molinaro Koger, Fairfax, Va., was installed as president; Lynn Hoover, president of Hoover Lodging Realty, Denver, is vice president; Anthony DeGeorge, president of Greene, Canfield, DeGeorge Ltd., Clearwater, Fla., is secretary; and Deirdre Murphy, vice president of Wilder Group LLC, Great Neck, N.Y., is treasurer. In addition, seven directors were elected: Ronald McCord, Milmark Hotel/Motel Investments, Milwaukee; William Lazarus, Southwest Lodging Brokers LLC, Phoenix; David Schwandt, Harbour Hotel/Motel Brokers, Manistee, Mich.; Chuck Nester, Brown Motel Investments Inc., Westlake Village, Calif.; John Jameson, Molinaro Koger, Northbrook, Ill.; Greer Lee, Scoggin-Blue Associates Inc., Houston; and Heather Hamilton, Spectrum Hotel Group, Austin, Texas.

New Philadelphia City Center hotel will be Ritz-Carlton The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. LLC, Atlanta, and Philadelphia Hospitality Partners LP have agreed that Ritz-Carlton will manage a new 330-room hotel at the corner of South Penn Square and South Broad Street in City Center, Philadelphia. Opening in May 2000, the project - located in the Mellon Bank Rotunda and Tower - will be named The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia. Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. will cease management of the current Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia at the end of 1999.

Atlanta-based brokerage firm Hodges Ward Elliott Inc. assisted the owner in securing the development capital and brand affiliation.

Year-end results are in and, not surprisingly, lodging REITs took a big hit.

As far as REIT stocks go, PaineWebber's REIT 1998 Review and 1999 Outlook reports that lodging REIT stock prices declined an average of 43% in 1998 and had an average 1998 total return of -40%. On the other hand, judging from the REITs' year-end reports, it appears that FFO and revenues were up across the board.

So why the disparity? Paul Garity, partner in charge of real estate and hospitality consulting for the West Coast with KPMG LLP, Los Angeles, attributes much of it to overreaction on the part of analysts.

As far as 1999 goes, Garity says, "There's still a few glitches in the hotel market on the specific companies that have to be weeded out." He adds that, until Starwood and Patriot American "right the ship," the whole market likely will be watched closely. "I think 1999 is going to be an upbeat year for the REIT market in general, although I don't think it's going to spike back up to where it was," he says.

Of course, the lodging REIT landscape is changing already, with Host Marriott's addition to the REIT rolls, Jameson's plans to merge with Signature Inns and Patriot's decision to convert to a C-corp.