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 HEI Hospitality Acquires the 250-room Sheraton Hotel at the Fort Lauderdale
Airport in Florida from Starwood for $31.95 million
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Plan to Invest More Than $6 Million in Renovations


NORWALK, Conn., December 1, 2005 — HEI Hospitality, a rapidly growing hospitality investment and operating company, today announced that it has acquired the 250-room Sheraton Hotel at the Fort Lauderdale Airport in Florida from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. for $31.95 million.  HEI plans to invest an additional $6 million in the property over the next two years, beginning with a complete renovation of the hotel’s meeting space and public areas.  Merritt Hospitality, a wholly owned subsidiary of HEI, will operate the hotel.  

“This is our seventh acquisition/new development this year, which keeps us on track to invest approximately $400 million to $500 million in transaction value per year, a pace we established in 2003,” said Steve Mendell, executive vice president of acquisitions and development.  “We continue to aggressively seek investment opportunities of first-class, full-service hotels in the nation’s top 50 MSAs, as well as to develop new hotels on a selective basis.

“Fort Lauderdale is a growing tourism and convention destination, in a state that has enjoyed one of the strongest rebounds during the lodging industry recovery,” Mendell added.  “The property itself is adjacent to Ft. Lauderdale International, the nation’s fastest growing airport over the past five years, and proximate to such diverse demand generators as the Broward County Convention Center; Port Everglades, the nation’s second busiest cruise port; major corporate offices including American Express and Motorola; and upscale shopping at Las Olas Riverfront Entertainment Complex and the Galleria Mall, as well as the city’s world-class beaches.”

“In addition, the area is undergoing a condo/hotel development boom on the beach, which is changing the face of Ft. Lauderdale’s lodging market into a world-class resort destination,” he said.

“Following the completion of our planned renovation of the meeting space and outdoor courtyard, we will expand the hotel’s sales efforts to encompass more group business, where we see attractive upside potential,” said Clark Hanrattie, HEI senior vice president and chief investment officer.  

Located at 1825 Griffin Road off I-95, attached to the 750,000 square foot Design Center of the Americas featuring nearly 200 office, yacht and home design showrooms and resource exhibitors that attract buyers from around the nation, the 12-story property offers more than 16,000 square feet of meeting space, a restaurant and lounge, high-speed Internet access, fitness center, outdoor swimming pool, whirlpool and tennis courts.  The property has undergone more than $9 million in renovations over the past five years, including a total refurbishment of all 250 guestrooms.  

HEI Hospitality, headquartered in Norwalk, Conn., is an ownership/investment firm that owns and/or operates 26 first-class and full-service hotels throughout the United States under such well-known brand names as Marriott, Sheraton, Westin and Hilton.  Merritt Hospitality is an independent hotel management company and a wholly-owned subsidiary of HEI Hospitality.

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Contact:

Gary Mendell, HEI Hospitality
 (203) 849-6065

Also See: Sheraton Yankee Clipper Beach Hotel on Fort Lauderdale Beach One of Wilmas Biggest Casualties / November 2005
HEI Hospitality Acquires the Renaissance Fort Lauderdale Hotel; Merritt Hospitality, a Wholly Owned Subsidiary of HEI, will Manage / September 2004

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