WAT&G Architects selected to design resort hotel in Egypt Honolulu-based Wimberly Allison Tong & Goo Architects has been selected to design a 300-room, upscale hotel called the Taba Heights Hotel. The developer, Taba Heights Co. SAE of Cairo, Egypt, plans to develop the resort on a 40-acre desert site at the north end of the Aqaba Gulf in Egypt. The project cost is $30 million and completion is scheduled for March 1999. Taba Heights is one of nine hotels planned for a new 1,104-acre masterplanned resort by Honolulu-based Helber Hastert & Fee. The resort will be operated and managed by the Hotel Sofitel network.

Bristol Hotels & Resorts signs $560 million agreement Dallas-based Bristol Hotels & Resorts (NYSE:BH) has signed an agreement with Bankers Trust Co. and Nomura Asset Capital Corp., both based in New York, to refinance its $560 million term credit facility. The loans are to provide flexibility to the company for a two-year period. The new financing has one tranche of $145 million for a 10-year term at 7.46% and a second tranche of $425 million for a 12-year term at 7.69%.

CapStar Hotel Co. purchases nine hotels for $200 million CapStar Hotel Co. (NYSE:CHO), a Washington D.C.-based hotel investment and management firm, has acquired nine hotels in four separate transactions for $200 million. The deal included six properties from the portfolio of New York-based Medallion Hotels. Chicago-based Hotel Partners Inc. represented the buyer on the deal. CapStar will invest approximately $25.5 million to renovate the hotels. which are located in Texas, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Michigan, Arizona and Kentucky.

Great Lakes Hospitality Corp. builds new Crowne Plaza Hotel Great Lakes Hospitality Corp., a hotel management and development company based in Milwaukee, started construction in late August on a new $15 million, 243-room Crowne Plaza Hotel. Located in Elgin, Ill., Crowne Plaza will be one of the largest new first-class hotels currently under construction in the nation and is set for completion by late-1998. The Crowne Plaza Hotel, Chicago-Elgin will have 243 custom rooms, ranging from 392 to 699 sq. ft., including 53 two-room suites, 14 with whirlpools, along with a 10,000 sq. ft. conference room adjacent to a 300-person banquet hall, three meeting rooms and a 40-seat restaurant.

Starwood Lodging Trust's buying spree takes on New Orleans Phoenix-based Starwood Lodging Trust (NYSE:HOT) has acquired the 439-room Crowne Plaza Hotel in New Orleans for $58.8 million, or $134,000 per room. The 23-story luxury hotel includes 10,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and is located in New Orleans' central business district. Holiday Inns Inc. and Joseph C. Canizaro Interests previously owned the hotel in a joint venture.

Fremont Properties purchases Wisconsin's largest hotel In the sale of Wisconsin's largest hotel, the Grand Milwaukee, San Francisco-based Fremont Properties and its affiliate Shady Grove Road Associates LLC paid $19 million for the property. The 519-room hotel is located on 15 acres in downtown Milwaukee and has 330,000 sq. ft. with five wings routing to a central lobby. The seller was Milwaukee-based Sampson Investments, represented by MFD Associates, also of Milwaukee.

Equity Inns sells nine hotels for $47.25 million Equity Inns Inc., a Rochester, N.Y.- based REIT, has sold nine Hampton Inn hotels to Memphis, Tenn.-based Hudson Hotels Corp. for $47.25 million. The properties were part of a 28-hotel portfolio that Equity Inns purchased last June. The deal for the nine properties closed at the end of October. Hudson Hotels paid $42.25 million in cash, and Equity Inns assumed a $5 million, two-year note at 10%.

Coopers & Lybrand Lodging Research notes $4.1 billion in sales Mergers and acquisitions tallied $4.1 billion for the first half of 1997, reports New York-based Coopers & Lybrand Lodging Research Network. That's more than double the first half of 1996, when hotel activity reached $1.7 billion. There were a total of six transactions, with the largest deal so far this year being Parsippany, N.J.-based HFS Inc. (NYSE:HFS) purchasing PHH Corp. of Hunt Valley, Md., for $1.8 billion. "The key factors driving the merger and acquisition activity are the record industry profits, near 1996 levels ($8.8 billion) of equity capital raised and the attention of Wall Street with its merger and acquisition experience," says Bjorn Hanson, Ph.D., chairman of Coopers & Lybrand's Lodging Practice, creator of the Lodging Research Network.