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Constellation Hospitality Group Will Use Cash From Condo Sales to Finance the Lumina Branded
 220 room Hotel with  245 Condominiums in Tempe, Arizona

By Donna Hogan, The Tribune, Mesa, Ariz.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Sep. 25--Veteran hotel developers will launch a new hotel-plus condos brand Lumina in downtown Tempe.

The 220-room hotel with 245 condominiums will rise in two 15- to 20-story towers at Fifth Street and College Avenue, the site of the former Arizona National Guard Armory, near Sun Devil Stadium and the Wells Fargo Arena.

The $200 million project, announced nearly a year ago with the moniker Stadium Towers, is slated to break ground in November and open in late 2009, said Eugene Marchese, majority partner in Constellation Hospitality Group.

Sales offices for the condos, which are selling for $290,000 to $1.5 million, have opened at 502 S. College Ave.

A May preview for people who previously had shown an interest in the project ended up with 400 potential buyers showing up, 120 making reservations and 45 signing sales contracts, Marchese said.

Constellation Hospitality Group was formed by San Diego-based Constellation Property Group and Australian architectural firm Marchese & Partners to develop the Lumina brand.

Tempe will get the first Lumina. Constellation is eyeing sites in San Diego, Honolulu, Las Vegas and Austin, Texas, Marchese said.

Marchese teamed up with Robert Watson, now CEO of Constellation Hospitality Group, to develop the concept and model.

Watson was involved in the design of such trendy boutique brands as Starwood's W Hotel & Residences and San Francisco-based Kimpton Hotels, parent of Scottsdale's FireSky Resort.

Marchese said the intent with Lumina is to develop, own and manage a unified project.

Condo residents will have access to all of the hotel's features and services, including in-home massages, catering, housekeeping, 24-hour concierge and valet, he said.

"People are looking for this integrated lifestyle," Marchese said.

"Just think. It's 8:30 (p.m.). You are working late and haven't had time for dinner. You can ring ahead to the chef, who will take a meal to your condo. People will even come in and mix your drinks for you."

All of the pricing will be a la carte, Marchese said, so condo owners can use -- and pay for -- as much or as little of the hotel services as they choose.

Lumina Tempe also will include high-end shops and restaurants, a "destination health club and spa," and a "20,000-square-foot serviced pool deck" that includes cabanas and food and beverage services, Marchese said.

Combining condos and hotels is popular. Every upscale East Valley hotel on the drawing board or under construction from the Ritz Carlton Paradise Valley to the W Scottsdale to Tempe's Le Meridien has requisite private residences.

Cash from condo sales help finance the building of a hotel, easing cash flow for developers.

In most such planned projects, property owners farm out the pieces to different developers and, after completion, bring in management companies to operate the pieces, Marchese said.

The difference with Lumina is having a single owner, developer and management company, he said.

"That gives us the ability and agility to integrate the services," he said.

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Copyright (c) 2007, The Tribune, Mesa, Ariz.

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