Thayer Lodging Group today announced that it has acquired a complex of three Marriott-branded hotels at Miami International Airport from Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE:MAR) for $57.5 million. Thayer said it plans to invest an additional $65 million to totally makeover the complex. The renovation/construction will take place in phases, with a final completion date planned for early 2009 to coincide with completion of a major expansion of the airport and regional transportation hub. Marriott will continue to manage the hotels and oversee all construction and renovation projects.
Key elements of the project include:
Total makeover of the existing Marriott Hotel -- The 366-room full- service Marriott will be significantly renovated and upgraded to leading-edge Marriott standards. The central feature of the renovation will be the conversion of the lobby to the new Marriott "great room" design, which will provide a family room-type environment. The design includes comfortable furniture in multiple relaxed settings where guests can unwind, meet with friends or business associates, work and connect to the Internet and enjoy multiple food and beverage offerings. The hotel offers 12,500 square feet of meeting space, a spa, health and fitness center, swimming pool and business center.
Expansion of the Courtyard by Marriott -- The existing 126-room Courtyard will be completely renovated by year-end 2007. A 10-story, 174-room tower will be constructed and connected on each floor to the existing structure, bringing the total room count to 300. The existing Courtyard lobby, restaurant and other facilities will migrate to the new tower upon its completion, which is expected to open in early 2009.
Construction of a new Residence Inn by Marriott -- The current 285-room Fairfield Inn has been closed and will be demolished and replaced with a 160-suite Residence Inn, comprising studio, one and two-bedroom suites. The new hotel, which will be proximate to major medical centers and substantial office space, will target guests who typically stay five nights and longer.
When the construction/renovation program is completed, the three hotels will share a spacious central plaza and outdoor meeting and banquet space. Each hotel will feature high definition television service, flat screen televisions, and cutting edge technology service in meeting and guest rooms. "This complex will showcase how to integrate three Marriott brands into one site," said Leland Pillsbury, Thayer co-founder and co-chairman. "We will take advantage of the synergies the complex offers, from marketing to meeting and dining facilities, which we believe will allow us to achieve above-average operating performance. The presence of the full-service Marriott will provide Courtyard and Residence Inn guests access to extra amenities and services, such as the great room.
"We enjoyed great success working with Marriott on our Grande Lakes Resort project, a luxury resort with nearly 1,600 rooms in two hotels, 125,000 square feet of meeting space and a 40,000-square-foot spa," Pillsbury said. "It generated exceptional returns for our investors, and we believe this acquisition holds equal promise."
"Thayer was able to move quickly on this complex transaction and shares our enthusiasm for the master plan for this exceptional site," said Stephen Joyce, Marriott executive vice president, global development/owner and franchise services. "Thayer has great strategic vision to carry out a project like this. We look forward to additional opportunities to develop new projects with them."
"Our mission at Thayer is to realize exceptional returns through value-add business plans. Here, the combination of creative renovation and new development in one of the country's high growth economies is compelling," noted Bill Reynolds, Thayer chief investment officer. "Miami is an international crossroads, and Marriott, as our brand partner, leverages this excellent real estate and hotel market."
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