Orlando receives first luxury hotel development in a decade New York-based Sonnenblick-Goldman Co. has arranged $215 million in financing for the first luxury hotel development in more than a decade for the Orlando, Fla., market. The Westin Orlando will feature 1,200 rooms accompanying 115,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, a 50,000 sq. ft. main ballroom, a 30,000 junior ballroom and 24 meeting rooms. Westin Orlando is being developed by Orlando-based Brooksville Development Corp. and Kajima Urban Development LLC, based in Atlanta. Construction is set to start in spring 1998 and scheduled for completion in spring 2000.

Manhattan's first Courtyard by Marriott started for $38 million Courtyard by Marriott has placed its first brand hotel in Manhattan for $38 million. Holliday Fenoglio LP, a mortgage banking firm based in Dallas, arranged the forward bridge financing for the 32-story, 224-room highrise located in Manhattan's fashion center garment district near Times Square. The hotel is the first new hospitality construction in the fashion center area since 1970. New York-based Granite Park LLC is the developer of the project. The project started in August, and completion is scheduled for December 1998.

Kennedy-Wilson deals five-star hotel for $63.6 million Kennedy-Wilson International (KWI) (Nasdaq:KWIC), based in Los Angeles, has brokered the sale of The Buttes Resort located in Tempe, Ariz., for $63.6 million. The five-star, 353-room luxury hotel has 30,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and a 140-seat amphitheater. KWI represented an undisclosed Japanese seller, and Dallas-based Patriot American Hospitality Inc. purchased the resort in a deal that closed in October.

United Properties Ltd. develops $17.5 million resort in Arizona United Properties Ltd., based in Vancouver, British Columbia, and one of the largest real estate developers in Canada, started construction on ShadowRock Sedona Golf Resort and Convention Center, a 225-room, $17.5 million project, in August. The first-class resort is a mix of 48 studio, six executive and 171 one-bedroom suites located at the edge of Sedona, Ariz., with the only 18-hole championship golf course in the area. Upon completion in fall 1998, ShadowRock will have 10,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, a 5,000 sq. ft. ballroom and private health and fitness facilities. The resort will be managed by Delta Hotels International Inc., Canada's largest privately owned hotel company, based in Toronto.

Host Marriott announces plans for convention center Host Marriott Corp. (NYSE:HMT) continues to grow with a planned development called the Tampa Convention Center Marriott Hotel. The Bethesda, Md.-based hospitality giant will start construction in midyear 1998, in conjunction with the City of Tampa, to build the $104.5 million center. The project will include a 26-story, 708-room full-service convention center hotel costing an estimated $124,300 per room. An essential part of the transaction is financing assistance, in the form of a large subsidiary from the City of Tampa, totaling $16.5 million. As a result, the net cost for the project to Host Marriott will be $88 million. Completion is scheduled for late 1999.

Windsor Hospitality Group to build area's largest all-suite hotel Los Angeles-based Windsor Hospitality Group (WHG) plans to develop the largest all-suite, non-gambling hotel near the Las Vegas Convention Center. WHG starts construction on the $36 million, 11-story Embassy Suites project in January 1998. The 277-suite luxury hotel will be located in the heart of Las Vegas and will be called the Embassy Suites Las Vegas Convention Center. Martin Harris Construction, based in Las Vegas, has been named as the general contractor. Opening is set for January 1999.

Hotel starts in 1997 the most ever, reports research network New York-based Coopers & Lybrand's Lodging Research Network reports that hotel construction starts are up 16% from the same time in 1996. In 1997, the hotel industry witnessed 127,500 new rooms being added throughout the nation. As a result, hotel occupancy this year averaged 64.6% vs. 63.1% in 1996. Healthy room rates have propelled 1997 profits near the $14.5 billion mark, and the network projects profits should rise to $17.1 billion in 1998. "Hotel room construction starts in 1997 will rise another 16% from 1996 levels and will be 53.6% above America's 25-year average of 83,000 new rooms per year with 1,250 starts in 1997," says Bjorn Hanson, Ph.D., New York-based chairman of the Coopers & Lybrand lodging and gaming group.

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