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Noble Investment Group Adds Depth to Development Division, 
Formerly Known as Stormont Noble Development
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Currently Has More than $600 million in Projects Under Design and Development

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Mark Rafuse Named Chief Development Officer; John Cooper Named EVP of Development; 
Kevin Grass Named SVP of Design and Construction

ATLANTA, Ga., January 18, 2006 — Officials of Noble Investment Group, one of the hospitality industry’s leading owner/operators of upscale and premium branded hotels, today announced that it has added significant depth to its development division, formerly known as Stormont Noble Development, as part of its aggressive strategy to grow its lodging and other real estate development interests.  Mark Rafuse has been named chief development officer and president of Noble’s development division.  John Cooper was promoted to executive vice-president of development, and Kevin Grass has joined the company as senior vice-president of design and construction.
 
“Noble has compiled a strong and successful track record of developing prominent lodging and related urban, resort and mixed-use developments, and currently has more than $600 million in projects under design and development with more on the way,” said Mit Shah, Noble president and chief executive officer.  “Mark, John, Kevin and their team of dedicated and talented project directors will play key roles in helping us achieve our expanded development growth plans.  This team is charged with creating value in resort, mixed-use and urban construction and re-development for Noble’s own investment account, as well as for strategic investment partners.”

Prior to being named head of Noble’s development division, Mark Rafuse was the company’s chief financial officer for seven years.  In his new position, he also will be responsible for growing new business opportunities outside of Noble’s lodging platform using the organization’s development acumen.  “In his role as CFO, Mark helped manage Noble’s investment platforms representing capital of over $1 billion.  His background in investment analysis and public and private finance will allow our development division to approach opportunities with well-rounded core competencies,” Shah noted.  Prior to joining Noble in 1999, Rafuse served in senior level positions with BMW Wood Technologies, Liuski International and Pratt Industries.

A 20-year hospitality industry-veteran, John Cooper began his career at Stormont Trice Development Corporation and Stormont Hospitality Group where he led the development of more than 5,000 rooms throughout the United States before the company was acquired by Noble in 2003.  Since then, he has directed the master planning and development efforts for the company’s strategic investments.  Cooper received a degree in construction management from Arizona State University.  “John’s greatest strength is his ability to match high construction and development expertise with entrepreneurial DNA.  He strives to get the most for the least to drive our return on invested capital,” Shah said.

Prior to joining Noble, Kevin Grass was executive vice president of operations for The Winter Construction Company, where he had profit and loss responsibility for business operations.  During his 11-year tenure, he created and implemented systems that automated all project management functions and facilitated internal and external information flow; he oversaw the corporate estimating and pre-construction department; and he initiated systems and protocols that enabled the company to function more efficiently and more accurately produce estimates for all projects, from concept to final design.

Grass is a member of the board of the Construction Educational Foundation of Georgia and the Associated Builders and Contractors of Georgia.  He is also a member of the Counsel of Educational Facilities International, American Society of Professional Estimators, and Professional Construction Estimators of America, as well as a LEED accredited professional.  He holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Building Construction from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Noble Investment Group is a leading, national hospitality organization that makes ownership investments in luxury and upscale hotels, resorts and convention/conference centers.  The company is a pre-eminent developer of first-class hospitality and mixed-use developments, as well as an award-winning operator of independent destination resorts and luxury and upscale hotels affiliated with Marriott, Hilton, Starwood and InterContinental Hotels Group.  Currently, Noble operates more than 5,000 hotel and resort guest rooms, including over 600,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, convention and conference centers, championship golf courses, spas, and fine dining operations, together with approximately 7,000 hotel rooms operated by Alliance Hospitality Management, a majority-owned affiliate of Noble.

Since 1979, Noble Investment Group and its predecessors have developed and acquired over $1.4 billion in hospitality assets. In the past year, the company began development on and/or acquired an aggregate of $400 million in hospitality investments.  For more information on Noble Investment Group, call (404) 262-9660, or go to www.nobleinvestment.com. 

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Contact:
Noble Investment Group
www.nobleinvestment.com
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Also See: Noble Investment Group Opens the 315-room Marriott hotel in Winston-Salem; Part of $45 million Conversion of the former Adam’s Mark Hotel / October 005
Noble Investment Group Acquires Stormont Hospitality Group / Sept 2003


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