Hotel Online  Special Report

Joe McCann of Optimum Hotel Brokerage Brokers Sale of Chicago’s
Legendary Palmer House Hilton, Represents Thor Properties
in $230 Million Transaction


Fairfield, Connecticut, August 17, 2005 – Optimum Hotel Brokerage announced today that the firm has closed on the sale of the 1,639-room Palmer House Hilton in Chicago. Joe McCann, president of Optimum Hotel Brokerage, represented the buyer, Thor Properties, in the transaction. The 80 year-old Chicagolandmark was sold by Hilton Hotels Corporation,  who will retain the hotel’s management rights. Thor Properties plans to invest over $100 Million to refurbish the hotel’s guest rooms and public areas, and redesign the property’s large retail and office components.

“The Palmer House is an historic, trophy asset located in the heart of one of America’s most dynamic cities” exuded McCann.“ There are only a handful of hotels with this landmark status and rich history. From its Renaissance-inspired lobby to the property’s magnificent and opulent ballrooms, the Palmer House is truly an irreplaceable asset. I was pleased to work with Hilton and Thor to craft a win-win deal for both parties.”

McCann is no stranger to the Palmer House.He began his hotel management career at the celebrated hotel as a Hilton Corporate Food and Beverage Trainee in 1978. Subsequent promotions elevated him to the position of Assistant Director of Catering, where he orchestrated catering sales and operations activities at the hotel’s 125,000 square feet of luxurious ballroom and meeting space. “My experiences at the Palmer House had a profound impact on my professional and personal life, and the Palmer House has always held a special place in my heart. I’m proud that I was able to play a part in transitioning its care to Joe Sitt and Thor Properties, who will continue the Palmer House’s great tradition of hospitality and reenergize its position for many years to come.”

A remarkable piece of hospitality history, the Palmer House Hilton is North America’s longest continually operating hotel. In 1871, Potter Palmer built the original Palmer House, considered at the time to be the grandest hotel in the country. Thirteen days after the original Palmer House opened it was destroyed by the great Chicago Fire. Undaunted by the fire, Palmer built a grander, more lavish Palmer House, which opened in 1873. The Palmer House was the first hotel to feature guest elevators, electricity throughout the hotel, and telephones in each room. Conrad N. Hilton bought the hostelry in 1945 for $20,000,000. The 1.7 million square foot building was constructed in 1925, and includes 1,639 luxurious guest rooms, five food and beverage outlets, 127,000 square feet of meeting space (including the world-famous Empire Room), 57,000 square feet of retail space, and an adjoining 49,000 square-foot office building.

Fairfield, Connecticut-based Optimum Hotel Brokerage is a full service hotel brokerage and hotel capital advisory service firm. In addition to the sale of the Palmer House Hilton, the firm’s sales within the past year include the 304-room Crowne Plaza Meadowlands in Secaucus, New Jersey and the 350-room Crowne Plaza Hartford in Hartford, Connecticut. Joe McCann has personally closed on over $300 Million in hotel transactions in the past 12 months. Optimum Hotel Brokerage will be expanding its operations and plans to open a Philadelphia office later in 2005.

Optimum Hotel Brokerage is also a member of Hotel Brokers International, the world’s largest and oldest hospitality real estate organization, which has a rich heritage of experience and expertise in hotel real estate valuation, transactions and other essential services. Comprised of some 75 hotel real estate broker specialists, HBI provides the hospitality industry with the most powerful hotel real estate marketing force, creating greater visibility through a unified and inclusive advertising and marketing approach. Mr. McCann has earned the designation of Certified Hotel Broker, with distinction, from the organization, and was recognized as HBI’s Broker of the Year for the Northeast Region in 2003 and 2004. HBI also awarded McCann with the Portfolio Sale of the Year and Unique Deal of the Year awards.

Optimum Hotel Brokerage’s principal is Joe McCann.Joe is a twenty-five year hotel industry veteran who has held senior management positions with Hilton (including over 5 years at the Palmer House Hilton) and Marriott at their largest and most successful corporate and franchised properties. Joe holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management from the Pennsylvania State University and a Master of Hospitality Management degree (with concentration in Hotel Finance) from the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston. He has also completed advanced Finance, Real Estate Finance, Hotel Valuation, and New Venture Development courses offered by the University of Connecticut, the University of Texas, Cornell University, and the University of Houston’s Melcher Graduate School of Business. He has been an active broker and consultant in the hospitality industry, with assignments ranging from hotel feasibility projects to multi-unit restaurant development.

For complete exclusive listings of hotels for sale, please go to For a complimentary valuation of your hotel, call 203-254-3904.

Additional Palmer House Hilton Photos

Joe McCann, President
Optimum Hotel Brokerage
733 Rowland Road
Fairfield, CT 06430
Phone: 203-254-3904,  Fax:203-319-9910

For more information, listings, or a complimentary
hotel valuation, visit

Also See: Optimum Hotel Brokerage Sells Holiday Inn  Express in Waterbury, Connecticut / May 2005
Optimum Hotel Brokerage Sells Days Inn in Niantic, Connecticut / March 2005
Optimum Hotel Brokerage Sells Crowne Plaza® Secaucus Meadowlands Hotel / January 2005
Optimum Hotel Brokerage Sells 350 Room Crowne Plaza® Hotel in Hartford, Connecticut / November 2004
Optimum Hotel Brokerage Sells Hampton Inn in Sturbridge Massachusetts / July 2004
Optimum Hotel Brokerage Joins Hotel Brokers International / May 2003
Industry Veteran Launches Hotel Brokerage Firm: Optimum Brokerage / December 2001

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