March 16, 2005
Fort Worth city officials have completed negotiations with Omni Hotels to build a $90 million, 600-room headquarters hotel. The proposal is scheduled to be presented publicly to the city council March 24; council members could vote on the deal March 29. If approved, Omni could break ground by the end of the year. The package includes about $50 million in public money in the form of tax rebates and refunds.

The 110-room La Posada de Albuquerque, opened in 1939 by Conrad Hilton, was purchased out of bankruptcy for $4 million by Goodman Realty Group. An 18-month renovation is planned to turn the property into a luxury boutique hotel.

Ground will be broken by the end of the year on a $45 million, 250-room Embassy Suites Hotel and $15 million conference center in San Marcos, Texas. Originally proposed for the center of town, the location has been moved to a 203-acre parcel on Interstate 35 on the edge of town, where additional retail and business development is under way.

Wyndham International will manage a new hotel in Winchester, Va., 50 miles west of Washington, D.C. Scheduled to open in spring 2006, the George Washington, a Wyndham Historic Hotel, will have 90 guest rooms and approximately 5,000 square feet of meeting space, including a ballroom able to accommodate up to 250 people.

In a deal struck this week, London-based Whitbread PLC announced it will sell 51 of its franchised U.K. properties to Marriott International. The hotels, which Marriott will sell off over the next two years to investors, are estimated to be worth $2.9 billion. Marriott will retain management control of the portfolio.

Construction begins in May on a $45 million resort on Scrub Island, a five-minute ferry ride from Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. Mainsail BVI, which debuts in 2007, will include 57 condominiums (some available for nightly rental), an oceanview spa and a marina. The resort will welcome meetings of up to 25.

The 300-room Four Points by Sheraton Buffalo (N.Y.) Airport will become the Millennium Hotel Buffalo Airport May 1. Millennium & Copthorne PLC has owned the hotel since 1999 and has been waiting for the Four Points franchise agreement to end before converting the hotel. A $1.5 million renovation, to run through the end of the year, will bring the property up to Millennium standards. The hotel has 12,000 square feet of meeting space. The Four Points by Sheraton in Sunnyvale, Calif., is in a similar situation and could become a Millennium hotel in six months, according to a Millennium spokesperson.