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Crowne Plaza the First Hotel Brand to Title Sponsor a PGA TOUR Golf Tournament
 -the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial; Now it Needs to Add a Hotel
 to the Fort Worth Market

By Andrea Ahles, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, TexasMcClatchy-Tribune Business News

July  26, 2006 - With the announcement of its six-year sponsorship of the Colonial PGA golf tournament, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts said it wants to add one of its hotels to Fort Worth "in the near term."

Kevin Kowalski, InterContinental Hotels Group's vice president for brand management, said that the hotel chain has had discussions about opening a Crowne Plaza in the city but that no deals have been finalized. Crowne Plaza, owned by InterContinental, has one hotel in Tarrant County, in Arlington near Interstate 30 and Texas 360.

"Obviously, there's a strong desire to get a hotel in the Fort Worth market," said Kowalski, whose company manages, owns and franchises Crowne Plaza hotels.

"We will add a hotel in the market in the near term."

He declined to specify whether Crowne Plaza will build a new hotel in Fort Worth, work with a developer for a franchise or buy or manage an existing property. But Kowalski said he hopes that the debut of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial will help Crowne Plaza complete a hotel deal in Fort Worth.

If Crowne Plaza opens a new hotel in this market, it would enter an already crowded upscale hotel market.

By the end of 2008, four new hotel brands will enter the market.

The Omni will open a new hotel near the Fort Worth Convention Center. Hilton, Sheraton and Embassy Suites will add their names to hotels that are being renovated in downtown Fort Worth.

The Embassy Suites, which will occupy the former Clarion Hotel near Bass Hall, was originally slated to house a Clarion Collection and a Hotel Indigo, a brand also operated by Crowne Plaza's parent.

InterContinental Hotels Group, based in London, operates Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites and the InterContinental brands. The company has four Crowne Plaza hotels in North Texas: one in Arlington, one in Addison and two in Dallas.

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Andrea Ahles, 817-548-5523 aahles@star-telegram.com

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

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