February 14, 2007

Four Seasons Hotels' board of directors unanimously voted for the chain to be acquired by majority stockholders Cascade Investment for $3.8 billion. Cascade is made up of Microsoft's Bill Gates and Kingdom Hotels International, a company owned by Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. Following the transaction, which will close by the middle of the year, Four Seasons will become a private company. In a company-issued statement, Isadore Sharp, the chain's chairman and chief executive officer, said the deal "is the best way to preserve and expand the long-term strategy, vision and core values of Four Seasons."

Ground was broken on Monday on a $600 million mixed-use development in Hollywood, Calif., that will include the 305-room W Hollywood Hotel & Residences. To open in mid-2009, the project will include a separate building with 375 apartments for lease and 50,000 square feet of retail space.

Gaylord Entertainment Co. is planning a $400 million expansion to the 2,881-room Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville. The expansion would add more than 400,000 square feet of meeting space and a 400-room hotel separate from the resort. Completion is expected as early as 2010.

The 2007 Pittsburgh International Auto Show, scheduled to begin last Saturday, has been postponed until April following an accident at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. A large section of concrete flooring collapsed on the second floor last week, sending a truck and a steel beam spilling onto a water feature 30 feet below. Other upcoming shows at the Pittsburgh center have been forced to relocate, as the facility was closed indefinitely last Tuesday for a series of safety inspections currently being conducted by several outside firms.