|By Marla Matzer Rose, The Columbus
Dispatch, OhioMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Sept. 02, 2011--One of Downtown's most prominent hotels became the Sheraton Columbus at Capitol Square yesterday, and the new owner said the hotel will undergo a $10 million renovation.
Representatives from the property's buyer, Florida-based Driftwood Hospitality, unfurled the Sheraton flag above the hotel's 3rd Street entrance, with permanent signs expected by Oct. 1.
The hotel previously operated as the Hyatt on Capitol Square.
"We believe in the Columbus economy," said Steven Groppe, general manager of the Sheraton Columbus.
Groppe said the hotel will benefit from the sales and marketing strength of Starwood Hotels and Resorts, which controls the Sheraton brand along with other upscale brands including Westin, W, Le Meridien and St. Regis.
The Westin Columbus (the former Great Southern hotel) on S. High Street is the only other Downtown property that carries a Starwood brand; other Sheraton hotels in Columbus include the Sheraton Suites on the Far North Side and a Four Points Sheraton in the airport area.
Upgrades to the 400-room hotel will include new furnishings, carpet and 37-inch flat-screen TVs, Groppe said. Some tweaks had already been made to the hotel's restaurant offerings, he said, but there are no immediate plans to change the restaurants' names.
Groppe acknowledged that there "hasn't been any money put into the hotel for several years." He said the structure and the location remain strong, and he sees "a lot of upside" in the hotel.
The Hyatt on Capitol Square, built in the 1980s, was put up for sale early this year after the lender was awarded a judgment totaling $41.5 million plus fees, expenses and interest against owner Hertz Investment Group of Santa Monica, Calif. It was sold to Driftwood this summer for $19.5 million, $10.5 million less than Hertz paid for it in September 2007.
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