Chicago entertainment district to get new Hampton Inn hotel The River North district, one of Chicago's most established entertainment and retail neighborhoods, will be getting a new Hampton Inn & Suites Hotel. Now under construction, the 12-story, 250,000 sq. ft. high-rise hotel is scheduled to open in January 1998. The hotel is a joint venture of Chicago-based Friedman Properties Ltd. and Chicago-based First Hospitality Group Inc.

Bristol Hotels & Resorts opens its first extended-stay hotel Dallas-based Bristol Hotels & Resorts is entering the extended-stay market with a new all-suites hotel in Dallas called Bristol House Residential Suites. The three-story, 127-room hotel, which took 11 months to construct, opened Sept. 5. Unlike some extended-stay hotels, Bristol House has interior guest room corridors and a front desk open 24 hours a day.

Radisson, government of Aruba partner to redevelop resort Radisson Hotels Worldwide -- part of Carlson Hospitality Worldwide, which is one of the major operating groups of Minneapolis-based Carlson Cos. Inc. -- has formed an investment partnership with Aruba's government for the $35 million renovation of the Radisson Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino. The resort will continue to be managed by Radisson under a new, long-term contract. Plans call for the resort to close around March 1, 1998, with a reopening of the refurbished hotel scheduled for Dec. 19, 1998. Ai-Group, Atlanta, is the architect for the project.

Too good to pass up: Sheraton nabs four former Ritz-Carltons Adding to its Luxury Collection, ITT Sheraton, Boston, has picked up the management contracts of four hotels, owned by Los Angeles-based partnerships controlled by Sheik Abdul Aziz Bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim, previously under management of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. LLC. Ritz-Carlton terminated its management agreements at the hotels -- located in Aspen, Colo.; Houston; New York; and Washington, D.C. -- citing problems including breaches of contract and nonpayment of management fees of more than $4 million.

While it doesn't have any comments on Ritz-Carlton's reported problems, a spokesperson for Sheraton told NREI that the company has had a positive five-year relationship with the owners, who also own the Sheraton Hurghada Resort in Hurghada, Egypt. Also, the owners have made capital improvement plans that please Sheraton.

Doubletree, Promus sign $4.7 billion merger agreement Phoenix-based Doubletree Hotels Corp. and Promus Hotel Corp., Memphis, Tenn., have reached a definitive merger agreement with a stock-for-stock transaction valued at approximately $4.7 billion. The merger will create one of the largest hotel companies, with a portfolio of brands including Doubletree Hotels, Embassy Suites, Doubletree Guest Suites, Homewood Suites, Club Hotels by Doubletree, Hampton Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites and Red Lion. The new combined company will be the third-largest revenue producer in the lodging industry, with almost $5 billion in annual systemwide revenues under management contract or franchise agreement.

Under terms of the agreement, the two companies will be merged into subsidiaries of a new holding company, to be named Promus Hotel Corp. Doubletree shareholders will receive one share in the new company for each of their Doubletree shares, and Promus shareholders will receive 0.925 shares for each of the shares in Promus. The new company's shares are expected to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Raymond E. Schultz, Promus' president and chief executive officer, will serve as chairman and CEO of the new company. Richard M. Kelleher, Doubletree's president and CEO, will serve as president and chief operating officer following the merger; he will then succeed Schultz as CEO upon his retirement. The company will be governed by a board of directors with 14 members. Also, each company has granted the other the option to acquire 19.9% of its common stock under certain conditions. And don't worry, Doubletree has no plans to eliminate its cookies!