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Starwood Hotels & Resorts Moving Headquarters
 from White Plains, NY to Stamford, CT
Lured to Connecticut With $80 million in Tax Credits and $9.5 million Loan

By Eric Gershon, The Hartford Courant, Conn.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News <>

November 19, 2009 - Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, one of the world's biggest hotel operators, will move its global headquarters and about 800 jobs to Stamford in early 2012, the company confirmed Wednesday.

Now based in White Plains, N.Y., Starwood plans to renovate and occupy 250,000 square feet in the Harbor Point area of Stamford's south end, joining Pitney Bowes and Deloitte & Touche there and adding to the number of global firms with major operations in the city.

The state will provide a $9.5 million loan and up to $80 million in tax credits and exemptions, according to Gov. M. Jodi Rell, who called the move "a triumph for Connecticut."

"New jobs, open space preservation, transit-oriented development, 'green buildings' - all of these goals are embodied in this one project," Rell said.

Starwood has agreed to a lease of about 15 years for space at 333 Ludlow St., where it will "design office space that reflects Starwood's leadership in global hospitality, design and brand-building" and which will be built to national standards for environmentally friendly construction, company Chief Executive Frits van Paasschen said. The property is owned by a partnership managed by Norwalk-based Building and Land Technology.

The state incentives will help Starwood save about 20 percent a year on its rent, van Paasschen said.

The hotel company owned, leased, managed or franchised more than 940 hotels in about 100 countries as of the end of last year, according to federal securities filings. Its hotel brands include St. Regis, W, Westin, Sheraton and Four Points.

Starwood currently operates four hotels in Connecticut, including the Sheraton at Bradley International Airport, spokeswoman Erin Maxwell said.

Starwood's stock, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange, closed at $33.49 Wednesday, down about 1.5 percent.

The state Department of Economic and Community Development will provide the $9.5 million loan and up to $75 million in Urban and Industrial Site Reinvestment Tax Credits. The Connecticut Development Authority would provide up to $5 million in sales tax exemptions, subject to approval by the authority's board of directors.

"The state of Connecticut has certainly made some meaningful incentives," Maxwell said.


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