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The Procaccianti Group Spending $16.4 million on Facelift
 for 30 Year Old Hyatt Regency Lexington

By Jim Jordan, The Lexington Herald-Leader, Ky.McClatchy-Tribune Business News

Jan. 25, 2007 - The Hyatt Regency Lexington is getting a $16.4 million facelift that will make it "the premier convention hotel in the state of Kentucky," Hyatt General Manager Larry Bell announced yesterday.

All areas of the 365-room hotel, located downtown in the same complex as Rupp Arena and the Lexington Convention Center, will be renovated beginning this spring and concluding in mid-2008, Bell said.

Architectural plans for the lobby, restaurant, bars and other public areas are incomplete, but guest rooms will be refitted with Hyatt Grand Beds, mahogany furniture, ergonomic chairs, cordless phones, high-speed Internet access, 32-inch high- definition flat-panel televisions, iHome clock radios with iPod docks and Hyatt Grand Showers in the bathrooms.

One floor will be done at a time so guests will not be disturbed, Bell said.

Speaking at the same press conference, Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry called the announcement "terrific news" -- in part, because it marks the last phase in the renovation of the entire Lexington Center complex that has been under way for several years.

"The work they are proposing to do is work that needs to be done in order for this community to move forward, and I'm so very, very pleased that you all have made the kind of commitment that you have," Newberry said.

"This is another sign that downtown is seeing a substantial reinvigoration and rejuvenation," with many new condominiums, restaurants and small retailers, the mayor said.

The renovation of the 30-year-old hotel will be paid for by The Procaccianti Group, a family-owned Rhode Island company that recently bought the Hyatt Regency building. Known as TPG, the company owns 47 hotels in 17 states.

The Hyatt is among a group of large hotels that allow the city to attract conventions and major events, including the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. The games are expected to bring 500,000 visitors to the Lexington area in 2010.

The other hotels include the Radisson Plaza Lexington, the Marriott Griffin Gate and the Crowne Plaza Lexington @ the Campbell House.

Jack Kelly, president of the World Games 2010 Foundation, said "the hotel experience" is a key part of attending an international event such as the World Equestrian Games.

Some visitors will live for two weeks at the Hyatt, which is near Triangle Park where evening events related to the games are expected to be held, Kelly said. So the hotel's condition will be important to visitors' impressions of Lexington.

The Hyatt's condition is also important to the University of Kentucky, said Tom Harris, UK vice president for external affairs.

Harris called the hotel "an extension of our campus," saying "a Big Blue line" runs through the Hyatt, where many UK basketball fans gather, and into the adjacent Rupp Arena.

In addition, Harris said, candidates for UK teaching positions and other jobs often stay at the Hyatt while visiting Lexington for interviews.

"It's time for a renovation, and we are pleased that it's going to happen so soon," Harris said.

Reach Jim Jordan at (859) 231-3242 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 3242, or jjordan1@herald-leader.com [mailto:jjordan1@herald-leader.com].

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Copyright (c) 2007, The Lexington Herald-Leader, Ky.

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