STAMFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT) today announced that it has completed the sale of the 275-room Atlanta Perimeter Hotel & Suites to RockBridge Partners, a division of RockBridge. The property, which will be franchised, is located just north of Atlanta’s city center and will be managed by Wischermann Partners, Inc. The hotel will continue to be affiliated with Starwood Hotels & Resorts and its award-winning Starwood Preferred Guest® program.
“We continue to pursue opportunities to sell our owned real estate at the right time to the right owners in the best interest of shareholders.”
“Starwood’s decision to sell the Atlanta Perimeter Hotel & Suites is reflective of our continued asset-light strategy,” said Simon Turner, President of Global Development, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. “We continue to pursue opportunities to sell our owned real estate at the right time to the right owners in the best interest of shareholders.”
As part of the transaction, RockBridge has committed to extensive property enhancements within the next 18-months, after which the hotel will fly Starwood’s Le Méridien flag.
“Le Méridien brand’s success under Starwood is catching the attention of great owners and developers, such as RockBridge, and is driving high-profile deals in primary locations across North America,” said Allison Reid, Senior Vice President, Starwood Acquisitions and Development, North America. “We are so pleased to again work with RockBridge on our third conversion opportunity, following the newly opened Sheraton Stamford and Sheraton Ann Arbor, as they, along with Wischermann Partners, share in our vision for the property. We look forward to collaborating with them to bring Le Méridien to the Atlanta market.”
Le Méridien was acquired by Starwood in November 2005 and has benefitted from Starwood’s centralized services and expertise in lifestyle brand building. Since the acquisition, Le Méridien has gone through a full brand re-launch, including a comprehensive portfolio review as well as a re-development of brand strategy, marketing approach and service culture training. With the strongest portfolio and performance levels in the brand’s history, Le Méridien is also gaining momentum in North America with additions, such as the recently converted Le Méridien Arlington, Le Méridien Philadelphia and Le Méridien Chambers Minneapolis.
Jim Merkel, President and CEO of RockBridge commented on the project stating, “We are excited about the opportunity to complete our third Starwood conversion in the past few years and to do our first project involving Le Méridien. The comprehensive renovation and rebranding of the hotel, coupled with the strength of the Starwood system, will position the property as the premier hotel in the market.”
“Our goal is to create memorable guest experiences by pairing exceptional product design and functionality with a service culture of excellence,” remarked Paul Wischermann, President of Wischermann Partners. “Atlanta, as a global hub, is the right location for this property connecting with Starwood’s strong upper upscale and luxury customer base.”
Conversions continue to be the primary driver of new hotel growth for Starwood using a pragmatic approach that ensures brand standards are maintained while balancing the needs of owners. In 2011, Starwood opened more hotels than previously predicted in North America because of the addition of several high quality conversions that were signed and opened during the course of the year. Conversions made up 75% of Starwood’s openings and 63% of its new deal signings in North America last year.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 1090 properties in 100 countries and territories with 154,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, Aloft®, and Element SM. The company boasts one of the industry’s leading loyalty programs, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), allowing members to earn and redeem points for room stays, room upgrades and flights, with no blackout dates. Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts. For more information, please visit www.starwoodhotels.com.
RockBridge is an integrated hotel investment firm that has executed on over 300 debt and equity hotel investments in the U.S. over the past two decades. Since 1992, RockBridge’s team has invested nearly $3 billion in the hospitality industry as part of approximately $5 billion of total transaction capitalization. The principals of RockBridge have formed and managed nine hospitality-focused investment funds across multiple platforms with predominantly institutional investors. For additional information about RockBridge, visit www.rockbridgecapital.com.
Wischermann Partners, Inc. is a national hospitality firm, focused on the operations of upper upscale and luxury hotels. Recognized by clients, peers and industry experts, Wischermann Partners brings a unique mix of knowledge, experience and insight to hospitality management, development and acquisitions. Currently, Wischermann Partners operates a hotel portfolio of nearly 2,000 rooms. For more information about Wischermann Partners, please visit www.wischermannpartners.com.
Note: This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of federal securities regulations. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated at the time the forward-looking statements are made. Further results, performance and achievements may be affected by general economic conditions, including the duration and severity of any global or regional economic downturns, the availability of financing alternatives at acceptable terms, the impact of war and terrorist activity, business and financing conditions, foreign exchange fluctuations, cyclicality of the real estate (including residential) and the hotel and vacation ownership businesses, operating risks associated with the hotel, vacation ownership and residential businesses. These risks and uncertainties are presented in detail in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Although we believe the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based upon reasonable assumptions, we can give no assurance that our expectations will be attained or that results will not materially differ. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
Trey Sarten, +1 212-380-4010