November 23, 2005

Financing for the 1,100-room Hilton headquarters hotel adjacent to the Los Angeles Convention Center received a major setback when Apollo Real Estate Advisors backed out of supplying an expected $60 million in equity. Representatives at LA Inc., the Los Angeles Convention & Visitors Bureau, told M&C, "We know that in the end there's going to be a convention center hotel. This is just a process that can take a while." Apollo Real Estate Advisors was not available for comment at press time.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts will build a new St. Regis property in Atlanta. In the city's Buckhead neighborhood, the 26-story St. Regis Atlanta will open in the first half of 2008 and will feature 150 rooms, an upscale restaurant, a spa, a pool and a 9,200-square-foot ballroom.

The U.S. government has pledged more than $337 million in federal funds to help finance the first phase of an estimated $15 billion expansion of Chicago's O'Hare Airport. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta agreed to give the city $20 million per year over 15 years, and, in a separate agreement, $37.2 million in Airport Improvement Program funds over five years. Together, the grants will cover only 10 percent of the cost of the first phase of expansion, which calls for two new runways, a new concourse, and taxiway/navigation aids. Approved by the Federal Aviation Administration in September, the expansion is expected to allow O'Hare to increase its daily capacity by 18 percent, to an average of approximately 3,300 flights per day.

Destination Marketing Association International has regained sole ownership of Destinations Showcase, its trade show held annually in both Chicago and Washington, D.C. The show was launched in 1985 by DMAI (then the International Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus); DMAI sold it to trade show firm PGI in 1996. PGI was acquired in July by TBA Global Events; TBA sold the show back to DMAI last week.

Just a few months after being released from its contract to manage The Plaza Hotel in New York City, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has entered into a new agreement to manage the 282-room (down from 805) property when it emerges from its $350 million renovation in early 2007. The project will convert much of the hotel to condominiums.