News for the Hospitality Executive
|By Ellen Lyon, The Patriot-News, Harrisburg, Pa.
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Mar. 24, 2004 - The Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Harrisburg has a new owner and some new plans, but the management team will remain the same.
California-based Contrarian Capital Management bought the hotel at 23 S. Second St. from ING Realty on Jan. 8. ING had owned the Crowne Plaza since 1999.
Because Contrarian had to apply for a liquor license, the hotel was dry for about four weeks after the sale but is once again serving spirits, according to Randy Villareal, senior vice president for Tishman Hotel Corp. of New York, which has managed the hotel since September 2002.
The new ownership will result in "no change in personnel whatsoever," Villareal said. "It's business as usual."
But there are plans to upgrade and add some services in the 10-floor, 261-room hotel. High-speed Internet service will be available to guests, and new Sony CD players will be installed in every guest room.
Guests will be sleeping on new 280-thread-count sheets and several layers of additional bedding covered by a duvet and six pillows, according to Yancie Toran, the hotel's general manager.
The Crowne Plaza is negotiating with Starbucks to sell the popular coffee company's products in a section of the hotel lounge, which is open to the public, Villareal said.
Food and beverage service and banquet facilities also will be under review, Villareal said.
Toran said the occupancy rate at the Crowne Plaza has "increased dramatically" from the average of 50 percent when Tishman took over management, although she declined to give specific numbers.
The hotel, which was once owned by the city, has had numerous incarnations since its construction in 1964. It has been the Harrisburg Hotel, a Holiday Inn and a Ramada.
Villareal said the Crowne Plaza can compete with its larger neighbor, the Hilton Harrisburg & Towers on Market Square. "We feel the market can definitely sustain two quality hotels," he said.
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