|By Mike Pramik, The Columbus Dispatch,
OhioMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Aug. 25, 2008 - A new hotel concept that caters to business travelers and young travelers is joining the growing Port Columbus market.
A local hotelier has begun work on a Four Points by Sheraton near the airport. Starwood Hotels & Resorts International has freshened the brand to mimic other so-called focused-service hotels such as Hilton Garden Inn and Courtyard by Marriott.
Darpan Management plans to spend up to $12 million on the 110-room Four Points, said regional manager Dan Shah.
"We were really impressed by the culture they have created with Four Points," Shah said.
Four Points was a Sheraton brand before Starwood acquired that company in 1988.
Jamey Cua, a regional manager for Starwood, said the company introduced the new Four Points prototype in January at the American Lodging Investment Summit. About a dozen deals are in the pipeline, and the Columbus version will be one of the first.
"The Four Points is going to be a good product if they can get these prototypes out of the ground," said Eric Belfrage, vice president of CB Richard Ellis Hotel Group. "Sheraton has one of the best handles on the 'Gen-Y' traveler."
Darpan Management acquired the site in January for $1.3 million. The company's parent is VJP Hospitality, which consists of Shah's father, Victor Shah; Jay Patel; and Paul Patel. The company's other central Ohio properties include two Cross Country Inns, a Baymont Inn & Suites and a Wingate by Wyndham hotel.
Jeff Shah said the Four Points hotel, when completed in June, will include a lobby with a 15-foot ceiling. Rooms will have wireless Internet; 37-inch, flat-screen LCD televisions; and sliding bathroom doors.
One corporate touch is what Starwood calls the "Best Brews" program, in which two local microbrews will be featured. Shah said the company hasn't selected the beers to be poured at the Columbus hotel's bar.
Four Points also has something called the "Four Pies" program that ensures four variations of the dessert are continually featured at its restaurants.
Shah says the combination of modern and traditional amenities is designed to make business travelers feel at home and provide high-tech creature comforts for younger travelers.
The 19 hotels in the East Side and airport market that reported their mid-year statistics to Experience Columbus had an average occupancy rate of 65.5 percent, above the regional average of 61.9 percent. That inventory will grow this fall with the addition of the 185-room, full-service Embassy Suites at Airport Drive.
The Four Points, though, will compete in concept more with the Courtyard by Marriott at Easton, which has logged an impressive 83.8 percent occupancy rate this year through six months.
Mike Pramik covers development for The Dispatch. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or by fax at 614-461-5107.
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