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Tog Hotels Acquires the 309 room Hampton Inn in Downtown Dallas; Will Invest
 $15 million on Renovations and Rebrand as Crowne Plaza
By Suzanne Marta, The Dallas Morning NewsMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Jul. 9, 2007 - Downtown Dallas' Hampton Inn is about to get a makeover.

The 309-room hotel has been sold, and the new owners plan to spend up to $15 million on renovations and turn it into an upscale Crowne Plaza next year.

Terms of the sale to Tog Hotels Downtown Dallas LLC were not disclosed. Irving-based FelCor Lodging Trust Inc. sold the property along with 44 others as part of a plan to focus on higher-end properties and key markets. FelCor had owned the property since 1998.

The Hampton Inn signs were removed when the sale closed June 19. Until the 15-month renovation project is completed, Tog Hotels, based in Santa Ana, Calif., will operate the property independently as the West End Hotel Downtown Dallas.

Jennifer Peek, the hotel's general manager, said the new signs should be up by the end of the month.

Tog Hotels will convert the hotel's top four floors, which have been vacant office space for the past several years, into 71 suites.

The hotel's bottom two floors -- a "plaza" level that connects to the city's underground tunnel system and a mezzanine -- will be converted into 18,000 square feet of meeting space.

Ms. Peek said the plan also includes turning the adjacent building, which was previously a movie theater, into a fine dining restaurant and bar, and a possibly a street-level cafe.

The hotel, which opened in 1968 as a Holiday Inn, faces a tough downtown market, said Greg Crown, an industry analyst with PKF Consulting.

"The challenge for anyone is how to survive without significant group business at the convention center," Mr. Crown said. "When the convention center is full, they do great. The hotels that do well downtown are the ones who can generate their own group business."

Tog Hotels owns more than a dozen hotels in California, Arizona and Texas, including the Holiday Inn Select in North Dallas and the Radisson Hotel Fort Worth North-Fossil Creek.

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Copyright (c) 2007, The Dallas Morning News

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