October 13, 2004

The 730-room Omni Orlando Resort At ChampionsGate, in Orlando opened Oct. 10. Its first group, with a room block of about 500 rooms, arrived the next day. The resort has 70,000 square feet of meeting space, including 27 meeting rooms and a 25,000-square-foot ballroom. Also on site are a 10,000-square-foot spa, two championship golf courses designed by Greg Norman and a water park featuring an 850-foot "lazy river."

The 299-room Holiday Inn Harrisburg East Hotel in Harrisburg, Pa., has changed hands and will undergo a $5.5 million renovation. The amount of meeting space will be increased from 28,000 to 32,500 square feet and a 100-seat high-tech amphitheater will be added. Milestone Hospitality will manage the hotel.

Alticor Inc., the Ada, Mich.-based owners of the Amway Hotel Corp., last week announced Marriott International will run its planned 300- to 400-room downtown convention hotel in Grand Rapids, Mich. Groundbreaking for the $60-$70 million property is set for 2005, with completion scheduled for 2007. The property likely will connect by skywalk to the newly opened DeVos Place convention facility. Marriott also has been named to manage the Kapalua Bay Hotel, a 210-room Maui property formerly managed by Starwood Hotels and Resorts. Operating under the Renaissance flag, the resort offers five meeting rooms, four restaurants and an 18-hole golf course. With the new contract, Marriott International now has 15 hotel and vacation ownership properties on four of the Hawaiian Islands.

As part of a $40 million project, the Tubac Golf Resort, 35 minutes south of Tucson (Ariz.) International Airport, will open next summer a 7,000-square-foot conference center, including the new 2,700-square-foot Apache Ballroom surrounded by 4,200 square feet of patio space. The property also is adding 24 rooms for a total of 125.

The 210-room Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North in Arizona has opened Troon Lawn, a 2,000-square-foot, two-tiered outdoor venue featuring a fireplace, waterfall and desert landscaping.

According to the Dallas Morning News, the city council in Southlake, Texas (a little north of both Dallas and Fort Worth, not far from Grapevine), has approved the $50 million, 39-acre Grand Avenue addition to its Town Square development, which will include a 200-room hotel, 14-screen theater and more than 140,000 square feet of retail space. If all details are ironed out by the end of the year, construction will begin in February; the complex would open in April 2006.

The 308-room Doubletree Guest Suites-Boston is up for sale and looking at a possible transformation to residences, reports the property's New York City-based brokerage firm, Eastdil Realty Inc. Although the hotel's general manager maintained that recent appraisal work on the property was conducted only in preparation for a year-end refinancing, an Eastdil representative said that the Doubletree was indeed on the market. Of the nearly 100 expressions of bidding interest the owners have received so far, residence developers have comprised a sizeable segment. The sale should be finalized by year's end.