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Fred Kummer Selling Whats Left of the Adam's Mark Hotel Chain to Oxford Lodging;
Includes Dallas's Largest Hotel, the 1,800 room Adam's Mark Dallas

By Steve Brown, The Dallas Morning NewsMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

May 31, 2007 - Dallas' biggest hotel will soon have a new owner.

The three-building Adam's Mark Dallas and the rest of the brand are being purchased by a San Francisco hotel group, Oxford Lodging.

"I've sold the entire hotel chain," Fred S. Kummer, Adam's Mark president and CEO, said Wednesday. "It's my understanding with the new owners that the deal will be consummated sometime in August.

"The enterprise has been sold intact and will continue to operate out of St. Louis."

Mr. Kummer said it would be up to the new owners to announce any changes for the Dallas property or any of the other four Adam's Mark hotels. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Dallas tourism officials say the sale could be a win for the city.

"This is potentially a very positive development for Dallas," said Phillip Jones, chief executive for the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau. "We are cautiously optimistic that we will get a new brand name on the hotel such as Sheraton, which is one we are lacking downtown."

A more widely known hotel flag than Adam's Mark would help attract business and convention travelers to the property, Mr. Jones said.

Opened in 1998, the Adam's Mark has more than 1,800 rooms and its own 230,000 square-foot convention center.

Adam's Mark owner HBE Corp. spent more than $200 million to buy and remodel the 42-story Southland Center office and hotel complex into the huge convention hotel. Built in 1959 and enlarged in the early 1980s, the office complex was one of the largest in downtown Dallas.

Adam's Mark has continued to make improvements to the property, most recently spending $30 million to convert one of its towers into high-end accommodations.

Mr. Jones discounts rumors in the real estate market that one of the hotel's buildings could be converted to apartments or condos. "Because of the amount of meeting space they have, they need a large number of hotel rooms to support it," he said.

Adam's Mark buyer Oxford Lodging is getting almost 5,000 hotel rooms in the chain purchase.

Oxford Lodging CEO Rob Kline declined to discuss his company's plans for the Dallas property.

"I'm not at liberty to make any specific comments at this time," Mr. Kline said Wednesday via e-mail. "Generally speaking, though, we understand that hotels are 'ongoing businesses' and we're very careful not to take actions that unnecessarily disrupt operations."

His private company already operates a $4 billion, 13,292-room portfolio of hotels in the United States and Japan.

Oxford Lodging properties include the new Hyatt Regency in San Antonio.

The company has previously purchased property from HBE.

"They certainly have a strong reputation and deep pockets, and hopefully that will benefit the property in Dallas," Mr. Jones said.

For his part, Mr. Kummer said he's sorry to see the Dallas hotel go. "My father was with Sheraton, and he was a key player in the building of the south tower," he said.

That section of Southland Center originally opened as a Sheraton Hotel. "We are very proud of the hotel in Dallas," Mr. Kummer said.

In 2001, Adam's Mark sold six of its hotels to a Kentucky investor. The firm also is in health care facilities and office buildings.

"I've been in the hotel business for a little over 30 years, and the last few years have been difficult ones," Mr. Kummer said. "The other fact is I'm 78 years old.

"If I were 58, I wouldn't be doing what I am doing."


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