|By Bill Radford, The Gazette, Colorado
Springs, Colo.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Aug. 14, 2007 - The 500-room Sheraton Colorado Springs, the city's second-largest hotel, became the Crowne Plaza Colorado Springs on Tuesday. It's the first Crowne Plaza in Colorado; a Holiday Inn in Denver will soon become the second.
A partnership between Stamford Real Estate Investments Ltd. of London and Harrell Hospitality Group of Dallas announced in June that it had bought the Sheraton on South Circle Drive, with Harrell Hospitality set to manage the hotel. The price was $20.1 million, according to the county assessor's office.
Earlier this year, the partnership acquired its first U.S. hotel, the Radisson Dallas Love Field Hotel in Dallas. A report then at Hotel-Online.com quoted a principal in Stamford as saying there were plans to acquire more "underperforming" full-service hotels.
The Sheraton, however, was not in that category, said Marc Hamner, director of operations for Harrell Hospitality.
"We just thought it was a perfect opportunity," he said. "It certainly wasn't an underperforming property."
Hamner said the Sheraton, with 43,000 square feet of meeting space, was seen as a natural for conversion to Crowne Plaza, which is touted as "the place to meet."
Crowne Plaza hotels are known for having meeting directors that provide a single point of contact for event planners and daily debriefings to help clients track and manage their budgets.
"They (Crowne Plaza) add a lot of value to us because of their meetings package," said Jon Kranock, general manager of the newly named hotel.
Kranock also noted Crowne Plaza's Sleep Advantage program. Designed with the help of a sleep expert, the program offers quiet zones, sleep CDs with relaxation tips and amenities such as sleep masks and earplugs.
"They've done a ton of research," Kranock said.
The name change is only the beginning for the new Crowne Plaza Colorado Springs. A $12 million renovation is planned that Hamner said will affect all areas of the hotel and should be done by June 1, 2008.
"Renovations are always difficult," Kranock said. But the large size of the hotel should ease the pain, he added.
"We can do it in sections and not cause a lot of issues for our guests," he said.
Kranock became general manager of the Sheraton Colorado Springs in December.
This isn't the first rebranding he has been involved in. In New York, where he worked previously, he was part of the conversion of a Radisson into a Doubletree.
"I've done this several times," he said. "This is the nature of the business."
It's also not the first name change for the hotel at 2886 S. Circle Drive. It began as the Four Seasons Motor Inn in 1974, became the Clarion in 1984 and then a Sheraton five years later.
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Copyright (c) 2007, The Gazette, Colorado Springs, Colo.
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