|By Sharon Linstedt, The Buffalo News,
N.Y.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Feb. 9, 2008 - Buffalo's largest hotel, the Adam's Mark, has a new owner and is in for big changes.
San Francisco-based Chartres Lodging LLC has completed a deal to acquire the downtown Buffalo hotel, along with Adam's Marks in Dallas, Houston, St. Louis and Indianapolis. The sale of the 4,867 rooms by St. Louis-based HBE Corporation to Chartres has been pending since last spring.
Terms were not disclosed. Kokua Hospitality LLC, the hotel management arm of Chartres, will oversee operations of the acquisitions.
In a statement regarding the purchase, Chartres said the Buffalo Adam's Mark, located at 120 Church St., will be getting a new identity and a "multimillion-dollar renovation."
"This is a new beginning for us," said Adam's Mark General Manager Daniel Blachut. "Chartres is strongly committed to this location and to Buffalo. There will be great things ahead."
While there will be no immediate changes, Blachut said the property will have a new brand to accompany the planned physical overhaul. He said representatives of several hotel companies have toured the Buffalo hotel in recent months as Chartres weighs potential rebranding options.
That list includes representatives of Starwood Corporation, which operates Sheraton and Westin; Hilton Hotels; and InterContinental Hotels, which operates InterContinental and Crowne Plaza properties.
"We're going to be making a change, but the evaluation and decision will take some time," Blachut said.
The 350 current Adam's Mark managers and employees have been told they'll be part of that change, with Chartres indicating it does not plan a staff overhaul.
While Chartres has not made specific plans for its new Buffalo property, it is farther along with its other purchases.
It plans an $87 million transformation of the 1,840-room Dallas Adma's Mark into what will be the world's largest Sheraton Hotel. The 1,225-room Denver Adam's Mark will also become a Sheraton following a $70 million upgrade.
Chartres will spend $63 million to covert the St. Louis Adam's Mark to a Hyatt Regency, while a sister property in Indianapolis will see $18 million in renovations to an as-yet-undertermined new brand.
Opened in 1979 as the Buffalo Hilton, HBE Corp. purchased the downtown hotel for $15 million in 1997 and coverted it to the Adam's Mark. As part of an $18 million overhaul, the hotel's popular indoor tennis courts and running track were converted to 72,000-square-feet of special event space.
The rebranded Adam's Mark will be join the Buffalo Hyatt Regency as the second downtown hotel poised for a major facelift. The Hyatt is about to undergo $13.3 million in top-to-bottom improvements. The Buffalo Niagara Marriott in Amherst is in the middle of a $20 million redo.
Chartres, which changed its name from Oxford Lodging Advisory & Investment Group earlier this year, controls more than $8 billion of hospitality investments which includes more than 100 upscale and luxury hotels across the United States and in Japan.
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