November 19, 2003

The city of Fort Worth has narrowed the competition to build a convention center hotel down to two companies: Austin Commercial and Omni Hotels. The Central City Revitalization and Economic Development Committee, part of Fort Worth's city council, is expected to recommend to the full council on Dec. 2 that the city enter into negotiations with both companies and then choose the best offer. Those negotiations are expected to take about 90 days. Austin Commercial's proposal is for a 560-room Hilton; Omni has not disclosed any details of its plan.

The 396-room Hartford (Conn.) Hilton has been acquired by the Procaccianti Group of Cranston, R.I., for $6 million. The company plans to close the hotel for a $15 million renovation.

Kerzner International Limited will build a 150-room luxury property at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in Capetown, South Africa. The new hotel will be the first One&Only property (the brand created earlier this year by Kerzner) in South Africa; it is scheduled for completion in 2006.

The Sugar Land Marriott Town Square opened Nov. 6. The Houston-area property has 300 guest rooms and 26,500 square feet of meeting space, including a 15,500-square-foot ballroom.

The boutique O'Brien Historic Hotel in San Antonio, which opened in April, is now part of Choice Hotels' Clarion Collection. The O'Brien, four blocks from the city's convention center, offers 39 rooms.

Last Wednesday, a 70-room Crowne Plaza opened in Toluca, 20 miles west of Mexico City. The resort features spa facilities and 5,000 square feet of meeting space.

Friday marks the opening of the 306-room, art deco-inspired Courtyard by Marriott Chicago Downtown/Magnificent Mile. A full-service, three-meal restaurant and 3,700 square feet of meeting space are available for groups.