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Quorum Hotels and Resorts Now Operating the Hilton DFW Lakes Hotel
 and Executive Conference Center in Grapevine, Texas;
Dave Muth Named General Manager
By Andrea Jares, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News

Jan. 7, 2006 - The Hilton DFW Lakes Hotel and Executive Conference Center in Grapevine has a new owner with plans for $6 million in renovations.

Somera Capital Management, based in California, bought the hotel for $65.5 million from Hilton Hotels Corp.

"It's a pretty big transaction," said Mark Rome, senior vice president of Molinaro Koger, who negotiated the deal with Bill Stadler, managing director, also in the Dallas office. "The Grapevine-north airport area is a pretty hot submarket. There is a lot of growth."

Quorum Hotels and Resorts also took over the operation of the hotel from Hilton on Dec. 19, said Drew McCarney, partner at the Dallas-based hotel-management company. It is the only property the company operates in Texas, he said.

The Grapevine hotel, at 395 rooms one of the largest in Tarrant County, is one of 20 hotels Hilton sold last year, company spokeswoman Kathy Shepard said. The sales were part of Hilton's strategy to rebalance its portfolio by making these hotels franchised properties.

The franchise agreement is for 20 years, McCarney said.

Quorum Hotels and Resorts and Somera Capital Management had been wanting to work together on a hotel deal, both companies said. The Hilton DFW Lakes Hotel is also a familiar property for Quorum because many people who had worked on developing the hotel are still with the company, McCarney said.

Grapevine was not necessarily a target market for Somera Capital Management, Vice President Ryan Krauch said. But the opportunity to work with Quorum and a market analysis persuaded the company to invest, he said.

The hotel, next to Grapevine Mills mall, will continue to operate as a Hilton franchise.

Construction crews have finished renovating the lobby and are expected to update guest rooms and common areas by midyear, McCarney said.

The food service will also be updated.

Hotel sales have picked up significantly in recent months, Rome said. The hotel real-estate brokerage has made 20 hotel deals in the past two years, half in the Metroplex.

The hotel drew many bids from interested investors, Rome said. McCarney said investors liked its proximity to the airport and its status as one of the country's 220 conference centers.

"The property is unique in the marketplace because of its high-end conference facilities," Rome said. "It competes locally as well as nationally."

Dave Muth, who has split his time between managing the Grapevine hotel and one in Phoenix, will become the full-time general manager Jan. 15. He started his career in this hotel 25 years ago.

The renovations also include upgrades to the nearby Austin Ranch, which the hotel also operates, Muth said.

Andrea Jares, (817) 685-3851 ajares@star-telegram.com

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Copyright (c) 2006, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas

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