|By Tom Droege, Tulsa World, Okla.|
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
June 11, 2004 - Three of Tulsa's largest hotels have new owners so far this year, a sign to industry watchers that the hospitality market is improving.
Fairfield, Calif.-based Presidio Hotel Group this week bought the Adam's Mark, 100 E. Second St., with plans to change the hotel's name to Crowne Plaza Tulsa. The sale price was not revealed, but Tulsa County land records showed the assessed value of the property is about $9.2 million.
St. Louis-based HBE Corp., which once owned 22 Adam's Mark properties nationwide, sold the Tulsa hotel along with others in Jacksonville, Fla., Mobile, Ala., and Kansas City, Mo., according to Gary Andreas, a principal with Tellatin Andreas & Short, a St. Louis-based hospitality industry consultancy.
The 462-room Adam's Mark along with the Doubletree Downtown, 616 W. Seventh St., and the Doubletree Hotel at Warren Place, 6110 S. Yale Ave., are among Tulsa hotels that have changed hands this year.
Andreas said there has been an upswing in hotel sales nationwide after several stagnant years brought on by a downturn in the hospitality industry and the economy in general.
"The last six months, the big lenders have been more willing to finance," Andreas said. "Now that more money has opened up, there seems to be more sales. The big hotel players are repositioning their portfolios."
Performance Hospitality Management of Dallas sold the Doubletree Downtown in January to Slohat Hotel LP, which is affiliated with USAA Real Estate and Hilton Hotels Corp., said hotel spokeswoman Jane Gouker.
The new owners plan to sink several million dollars into renovation of the 18-floor, 117-room building. The hotel is the only one connected to the Maxwell Convention Center, a building set to benefit from the voter-approved Vision 2025 local improvement initiatives.
"With the amount of money the citizens are investing in Vision 2025, the Doubletree owners want to be among the first private entities to follow suit," said Robert Watson, general manager of the Doubletree Downtown.
Procaccianti Group, a Cranston, R.I.-based hospitality management company, bought the Doubletree at Warren Place in February from Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. The new owners of the nine-floor, 370-room facility are spending $4.5 million on the building this year to transform the layout, said general manager Brett Sundstrom.
Suzann Stewart of the Tulsa Metro Chamber Convention and Visitors Bureau said occupancy is on the rise in the city's 1,800-room hotel market. Citywide occupancy in April stood at 54 percent, up about 3 percent from the same month last year. Luxury properties are faring better, with about 61 percent occupancy, a 14 percent increase.
"Travel is picking up," Stewart said. "Room tax collections are also up considerably."
Andreas, the hotel consultant in St. Louis, said the nation's hospitality industry appears to be in a slow recovery mode after the downturn brought on by 9/11.
"That really kicked the tourism industry in the teeth," he said.
Within cities, occupancy levels are spotty depending on where the hotels are located, Andreas said.
"There in Tulsa the downtown market hasn't exactly been setting the world on fire," he said, adding that downtown Kansas City is having the same problem.
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