|By Steve Brown, The Dallas Morning
NewsMcClatchy-Tribune Business News
July 13, 2006 - A California investor has purchased downtown Dallas' landmark Fairmont Hotel.
DiNapoli Capital Partners bought the 551-room luxury hotel from a partnership that included Middle Eastern investors.
The new owners plan to make substantial upgrades to the 47-year-old hotel, general manager Frank Naboulsi said Wednesday.
"Fairmont will continue to manage the property," Mr. Naboulsi said. "The new owners have a lot of exciting things planned."
The Fairmont, near the Arts District at Ross Avenue and Akard Street, has been on the market for several months.
Although terms of the transaction were not disclosed, real estate brokers say the property sold for more than $60 million.
The Fairmont was built as a combination hotel and apartment complex called Cary Plaza. The $10 million development was one of the most ambitious Dallas real estate projects in the early 1960s.
But the twin-tower development suffered a financial collapse before it was finished.
The half-built towers sat on the city's skyline for more than four years.
Finally, San Francisco hotel magnate Benjamin Swig, chairman of the Fairmont Hotel Corp., agreed to take over the construction site. Mr. Swig enlarged the project and opened the doors in 1969 -- almost eight years after the groundbreaking. By then, the price tag had risen to $31 million.
With its posh Pyramid restaurant and the Venetian Room with headliner performers, the Fairmont set a new standard. At opening, single rooms started at $17 a night. For $45, you could get a suite with a parlor and separate bedroom.
A room tonight will run you $209, plus tax.
The Fairmont has been remodeled several times. The most recent was a $4.5 million upgrade last year, when the exterior was repainted from the original white to "Meadowlark" and "walnut wash," a.k.a brown.
Expect more changes, Mr. Naboulsi said.
"I have no doubt the purchase will help take this hotel to the next level," he said. "The new owners have already made a commitment to enhance the product."
DiNapoli Capital Partners was founded by hotel investor F. Matthew DiNapoli. Mr. DiNapoli was one of the founding principals of Maritz, Wolff & Co., which is part-owner of Dallas' Mansion on Turtle Creek hotel.
DiNapoli Capital Partners owns hotels around the country operated by Fairmont, Marriott, Four Seasons and other brands.
Copyright (c) 2006, The Dallas Morning News
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