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HEI Hospitality Wraps Up $1.5 Billion, Three-Year Hotel Acquisition Program; 
Adds Four Senior Execs to Support Acquisition and Development Activity
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NORWALK, Conn., January 23, 2006 — HEI Hospitality, a rapidly growing hospitality investment and operating company, today announced that it has completed hotel acquisitions valued at approximately $1.5 billion over the past three years and is positioned to invest up to an additional $1.5 billion over the coming three years.  To facilitate its planned growth, the company is building significant depth into its acquisition and operation teams, as well as staffing a recently-created development division of the company.  As part of this expansion, HEI announced the appointment and/or promotion of four executives to the acquisition and development teams and creation of five new positions within the operations team.  When all positions are filled, HEI will have approximately 70 professionals in its corporate office, in addition to the approximately 5,000 associates at HEI’s 28 hotel properties who are helping to execute each investment’s business plan. 

“We believe the long-term outlook for hotel investment remains quite attractive,” said Gary Mendell, chairman and chief executive officer of HEI Hospitality.  “While we are not driven by a specific timetable, our over-arching objective is to strategically invest $500 million annually over the next several years in the acquisition and development of primarily hotel-related opportunities.  We have carefully assembled a first class investment team over the last several years, and our depth in this area continues to fuel a very active pipeline of prospective investment opportunities.  HEI now has 13 professionals, with more than 185 years of collective experience, driving its acquisition and development effort with several additional positions to be filled in the coming months.”

The company announced four senior staff additions/promotions to support the planned growth in its acquisition and development activity:

  • Jin Y. Lee —The 16-year hotel and real estate professional was promoted to senior vice president of acquisitions after having spent the previous two years as senior vice president feasibility & investment analysis.  In his new position, he will be responsible for sourcing and negotiating transactions, with an emphasis on the western half of the country.  Prior to joining HEI, Lee served as vice president acquisition and development with Kimpton Group for several years and was previously director of development planning and feasibility with Marriott International.  He is a former vice president of HVS International and began his career with Ritz-Carlton.  He holds an M.B.A. from the University of California, Irvine and a B.S. in Hotel Administration from Cornell University.  Lee is a member of ULI and The Cornell Hotel Society.  Lee will join the senior acquisition team comprised of Steve Mendell, Clark Hanrattie and Roger Clark.
  • Brett M. Wilderman —Wilderman recently joined the company as director of acquisitions to support the firm’s increased evaluation of resort-oriented investments.  Previously he spent three years as acquisitions manager at Louis Dreyfus Property Group along with prior positions at Loews Hotels and PKF Consulting.  He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration.   
  • Stephen L. Chan —Chan, who joined HEI in early 2005 as director of feasibility and investment analysis from  SCS Advisors/Walton Street Capital, has been promoted to vice president of feasibility and investment analysis.  In this capacity, he will oversee a team of six seasoned professionals who will be responsible for handling the firm’s feasibility and investment analysis.  At SCS Advisors, Chan held the position of asset manager/acquisitions and, during his tenure, was involved in more than 30 projects, including portfolios and individual hotels.  Previously, he was a senior associate with HVS.  He holds a B.S. in Finance from Cornell University.  He is a CFA Level II Candidate, a member of the Cornell Hotel Society and a member of the Hospitality Asset Manager’s Association.  
  • Stephen Walker —Walker was promoted from senior manager of feasibility to director of development.  He will report to Russell Urban, who recently joined HEI as senior vice president development to spearhead a newly created hotel development division.  With more than a decade of hospitality experience, Walker’s career includes positions with HVS International, Four Seasons Hotel Company and the Statler Hotel.
“We will shortly be announcing our first acquisition in 2006 and are working diligently on a substantial number of additional transactions,” Mendell added.  “We continue to target first-class, full-service hotels as our principal investment focus; however, we now are positioned to pursue new development opportunities, such as aloft by Starwood, Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Garden Inn, as well as investments in select resort, leisure and hospitality-oriented mixed-use projects.    

HEI Hospitality, headquartered in Norwalk, Conn., is an ownership/investment firm that owns and/or operates 28 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

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Also See: HEI Hospitality Now Owns or Operates 26 Hotels Throughout the United States Following Acquistion of Algonquin, its First Hotel In Manhattan / September 2005
HEI Hospitality Acquires the 250-room Sheraton Hotel at the Fort Lauderdale Airport in Florida from Starwood for $31.95 million / December 2005

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