Hotel Online  Special Report


  HEI Hospitality Names Russell Urban SVP Development; 
Will Seek Development Opportunities for Premium-branded Hotels 
NORWALK, Conn., November 29, 2005 — HEI Hospitality, a rapidly growing hospitality investment and operating company, today announced that Russell D. Urban has joined the company as senior vice president development to spearhead a newly created hotel development division.  Urban will be responsible for sourcing and negotiating new development opportunities for premium-branded hotels.  Targeted brands range from the recently announced aloft brand by Starwood, Courtyard by Marriott, Westin and Hilton Garden Inn, as well as certain upscale extended-stay brands. 

“With nearly 25 years of hotel, real estate and development experience, Russ adds substantial depth and real estate development expertise to our senior management team,” said Steve Mendell, executive vice president—acquisitions and development.  “While the acquisition of first-class, full-service hotels will remain our primary focus, hotel development and ownership strategically extends our portfolio into high-growth segments that can provide HEI and its investors with appropriate risk-adjusted returns.”

HEI will focus on developing hotels in the top 50 U.S. markets, seeking locations with long-term growth potential and high barriers to new competition.   “The upper-tier segment, especially these brands, still has significant development opportunities,” Mendell noted.  “We have considerable experience in the top markets and will use this knowledge and Russ’ expertise to locate and develop hotel sites that have the highest potential.”

Prior to joining HEI, Urban was a principal of Island Resort Collection, a boutique ownership and operating company that purchased and managed boutique resorts in the U.S., Caribbean and Mexico.  The company focused on repositioning and turning around hotel assets, as well as creating fractional ownership programs. 
He is a former principal and executive director of Hotel Partners, a hotel real estate brokerage and capital markets firm that grew to 14 offices worldwide and posted the industry’s greatest hotel sales volume in the late 1990s.  He previously was senior vice president of LCP hotels, a predecessor company to MeriStar Hospitality Corporation and Interstate Hotels & Resorts, where he led the company’s development team.

Previously, he was owner and CEO of Urban Hotel Corporation that financed, developed and operated focused-service hotels.  He also held positions with Marriott Corporation in development, primarily for the Courtyard by Marriott hotel brand.  He began his career as a consultant with Laventhal and Horwath.
Urban holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University.  He is a former president and lifetime member of the International Cornell Hotel Society.  He holds real estate brokerage licenses in California and Massachusetts.

HEI Hospitality, headquartered in Norwalk, Conn., is an ownership/investment firm that owns and/or operates 26 first-class and full-service hotels throughout the United States under such well-known brand names as Marriott, Sheraton, Westin and Hilton.  Merritt Hospitality is an independent hotel management company and a wholly-owned subsidiary of HEI Hospitality.


 Gary Mendell
HEI Hospitality
 (203) 849-6065

Also See: HEI Hospitality Acquires the 289-room Westin Philadelphia from Starwood for $89 million / November 2005
HEI Hospitality Acquires the 333-suite Embassy Suites Orlando—Lake Buena Vista Resort in Orlando, Fla., From Strategic Hotel Capital for $56 million / November 2005

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