Destination Hotels enters the D.C., San Francisco markets Marking Destination Hotels & Resorts third and fourth major additions to its portfolio in the past year, the Denver-based hospitality subsidiary of Lowe Enterprises has begun management of two hotels, the ANA Hotel in Washington, D.C., and the ANA Hotel, San Francisco. Destination Hotels & Resorts immediately converted the names to The Washington Monarch Hotel and The Argent Hotel, San Francisco.

Lowe Enterprises Investment Management Inc., acting on behalf of a major pension fund client, acquired the 415-room Washington, D.C., hotel and the 667-room San Francisco hotel from All Nippon Airways.

Courtyard by Marriott brings new life to urban markets In order to contribute to urban revitalization, Courtyard by Marriott is working closely with historical preservation organizations and downtown revitalization groups in major cities to restore historically significant buildings and convert them to new Courtyard hotels. The company currently has nine hotels in the process of converting, and three have already opened. By working with the preservation organizations, Courtyard hopes to ensure that each conversion maintains the architectural integrity of the building and enhances the surrounding neighborhood.

"Cities with strong real estate markets are particularly conducive to the renovation of older buildings," says Lee Meyer, member of the American Institute of Architects and president of Meyer & Heitmann Architects of Savannah, Ga. "Many companies are finding that building new in these markets simply does not make good business sense."

The strong hotel market, coupled with the relatively flat market for older office buildings, has increased the conversion trend. The trend is also being carried out internationally by Courtyard, which is currently converting a 75-room hotel in the upscale Calle Florida shopping avenue of Buenos Aires, Argentina, scheduled to open in 1999.

Louisiana Gaming Board gives green light to new casino resort Receiving final approval from the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, Hollywood Casino Corp., Sodak Gaming Inc. and New Orleans Paddlewheels Inc. will build a $185 million riverboat casino entertainment resort in Shreveport, La. Construction on the Hollywood Casino Resort Shreveport is scheduled to begin in early 1999, and opening is slated for June 2000. Hollywood Casino Corp. and Sodak Gaming Inc. will own the project on a 50/50 basis, with the exception that New Orleans Paddlewheels will own a 10% residual interest.

The project will offer a 170,000 sq. ft. pavilion, a luxury hotel with up to 400 rooms, a riverboat with two decks, 30,000 sq. ft. of gaming space, and between 25,000 and 40,000 sq. ft. of retail/entertainment space.

Lehrer McGovern Bovis to build new luxury hotel in Manhattan Construction has begun on a new 28-story Sofitel luxury hotel on 44th Street in Midtown Manhattan. New York-based Lehrer McGovern Bovis Inc. is building the 400-room hotel, designed by BBG Architect. The construction management assignment for the $70 million project was awarded to LMB by Accor, a French global hotel company, and Constructa, Accor's development manager.

Upon completion, the project will serve as Paris-based Sofitel's U.S. flagship. It is scheduled to open in early 2000.

Coastal Hotel Group, PaineWebber form partnership Chicago-based Coastal Hotel Group, a full-service hotel management company, has formed a strategic partnership with PaineWebber Real Estate Securities Inc., which will provide Coastal access to capital and other resources to support Coastal's growth.

In combination with PaineWebber, Coastal plans an aggressive pursuit of hotel management contracts at properties that are complementary to and create synergies with its existing portfolio of hotels.