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Dearborn, Michigan Hotel to Lose Ritz-Carlton Name in Sale

New Owners Planning Significant Renovation, Intend to Keep the
 308-room Hotel a Leader in the Marketplace



By Katherine Yung, Detroit Free PressMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

April 14, 2010 - The Ritz-Carlton Dearborn has been sold to an investment group and will be managed by Greenwood Hospitality Group, a hotel investment and management company. As of June 2, it will no longer be a Ritz-Carlton, said Vivian Deuschl, a Ritz-Carlton spokeswoman.

Thomas Conran, a Greenwood principal, said a decision will be made within a month as to what brand the hotel will become. He could not name the investment group yet because of a confidentiality agreement that he had signed, but said that the new owners are planning a significant multimillion-dollar renovation of the property and intend to keep it an upscale hotel.

“It is our intent to not change the traditional elements of the hotel significantly,” Conran said. “It is a very unique property. We recognize that the Ritz-Carlton is the leader in the marketplace and it’s our intent to keep the hotel as the leader in the marketplace.”

He declined to comment on the purchase price or whether the more than 200 employees at the Ritz Dearborn will still have jobs after the hotel switches ownership. The sale has not yet closed.

Conran said none of the investors is in Michigan, but they view the hotel as a good investment in the long term. “The group is an opportunistic buying entity. … We feel comfortable this property has a place in the marketplace,” he said. “They are getting healthier by the moment.”

Greenwood was formed in August 2009 to acquire and manage hotels. Its three principals – former executives at Richfield Hospitality – are investors in the Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest in Ypsilanti as well as in three other hotels in Vermont, New York and Alabama.

The Ritz-Carlton Dearborn on Town Center Drive near the Fairlane Town Center has long been one of the top luxury hotels in Michigan, winning numerous awards including the Four Diamond Award from the American Automobile Association every year since it opened in 1989.

The 308-room hotel has 26,000 square feet of recently renovated meeting space, including two grand ballrooms. Like other Ritz hotels, it is best known for its top-notch customer service, such as twice-daily maid service and a complimentary overnight shoeshine.

“When the economy was really strong, … that was the hotel in the region,” Deuschl said. “We’re really proud of it. Unfortunately the economic problems certainly did take a toll on the hotel industry.”

Contact KATHERINE YUNG: 313-222-8763 or kyung@freepress.com.

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Copyright (c) 2010, Detroit Free Press

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