Hotel Online
News for the Hospitality Executive


Three-Year $150 Million Restoration of Landmark
Washington Hilton Completed

WASHINGTON - May 25, 2010 - Nearly three years to the day after announcing plans for a top-to-bottom overhaul of the iconic Washington Hilton near Dupont Circle, property owners Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds and Lowe Enterprises joined with Hilton executives today to mark the completion of a $150 million renovation encompassing all guest rooms, common areas, ballroom complex and exhibition spaces.

“We made a significant commitment to this property and to the entire Washington D.C. community, and we delivered on the promise”

CJUF and Lowe acquired the property on May 31, 2007 in what was one of the largest hotel acquisitions in Washington D.C. history. CJUF is a joint venture between Canyon Capital Realty Advisors and basketball legend-turned entrepreneur Earvin “Magic” Johnson. Based in Los Angeles, CJUF is one of the largest private real estate funds focused on the development and repositioning of urban properties in the United States. Los Angeles-based Lowe Enterprises is a leading national real estate investment, development and management firm with extensive experience in the hospitality industry.

“When we purchased the hotel in 2007, we made a commitment to make the necessary investments to restore this hotel and position it for success for decades to come,” said CJUF Managing Partner Bobby Turner. “Today, we celebrate the realization of the promise we made to restore this tremendous landmark.”

At a news conference today, Johnson joined with Washington D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and other executives to roll out the red carpet for a new generation of guests to the iconic hotel that has been the site of prestigious gatherings hosted by U.S. presidents, world leaders and other prominent figures since opening in 1965.

From left to right: David Twardock, president, Prudential Mortgage Capital Company Daniel Millman, managing director and head of asset management, Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds DC Mayor Adrian Fenty, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, partner, Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds (CJUF) Steve Cowan, general manager Washington Hilton Mike Lowe, executive vice president and chief investment officer, Lowe Enterprises Bill Fortier, senior vice president of development in the Americas for Hilton Worldwide In the background are Washington Hilton Bellmen, ready to open the door and welcome guests to the landmark restored. (Photo: Business Wire)

“We made a significant commitment to this property and to the entire Washington D.C. community, and we delivered on the promise,” Johnson said. “This goes to the very heart of what Canyon Johnson is all about – investing in urban communities and serving as a catalyst for more redevelopment,” he said.

The Washington Hilton is located in a densely-populated urban neighborhood and employs hundreds of people. Set on five acres on Connecticut Avenue near Dupont Circle, the Washington Hilton is in the heart of one of the area’s most desirable and distinctive shopping, dining and residential neighborhoods. Its proximity to government and cultural institutions also make it a premier destination for both business and leisure travelers.

“The District applauds Magic Johnson, Canyon-Johnson and Lowe for honoring their commitment to invest in the District of Columbia, despite the dark economic clouds during this three-year renovation,” said Washington D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty. “Not only have they breathed new life into the hotel, but they’ve also secured its role as an economic driver for years to come.”

Executives from Lowe Enterprises oversaw the extensive renovation program from major new construction to detailed design features. The hotel’s new interiors highlight the property’s historic mid-century modern style and distinct features and amenities while introducing fresh, functional and timeless décor.

“Lowe Enterprises has been an owner and investor in D.C. area real estate for decades and we appreciated the rare opportunity to restore and enhance this irreplaceable property. Our team’s extensive experience in both commercial and hospitality development and operations was the ideal combination to lead the renovation of the Washington Hilton,” said Robert J. Lowe, chairman and CEO, Lowe Enterprises.

The restoration of the property included a makeover of all 1,070 guestrooms, meeting rooms and function spaces, the lobby, restaurants and all public areas. All guestrooms have seen wall-to-wall updates including new color schemes, window treatments, bedding, floor and wall coverings, as well as new flat-panel HDTVs and updated bathrooms. The hotel’s renewed 110,000 square foot function space now features a new 30,000 square foot multi-purpose addition, named Columbia Hall. The hall has a network of moveable walls, allowing for maximum flexibility to create areas ranging from 900 to 7,800 square feet of social and exhibition space.

Also, the new Heights Executive Meeting Center includes nine meeting rooms designed to accommodate the latest technology, 24-hour food and beverage service and new restroom facilities. An adjacent courtyard offers amazing views of the nation’s capital.
Extensive modifications have also been made to the hotel’s 36,000 square-foot International Ballroom complex, the site of the only official inaugural ball for President Barack Obama. The ballroom complex was reconfigured to handle multiple groups and events simultaneously, and can now hold up to 4,200 people for a reception, and 2,600 for a seated dinner.

“From its location at the original district line separating Washington City and Washington County during the development of the Nation’s Capital, to its listing as a place of significance within the Washington Heights neighborhood on the National Register of Historic Places, Washington Hilton has a place in history unrivaled by other D.C. hotels,” said Ted Ratcliff, senior vice president, Operations East, Hilton Worldwide.

About Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds
The Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds (CJUF) are the country’s largest private real estate funds focused on the development of urban properties in underserved neighborhoods. A joint venture between Canyon Capital Realty Advisors and an entity of Earvin “Magic” Johnson’s Magic Johnson Enterprises, the funds were formed to identify, enhance and capture value through the development and redevelopment of real estate in densely populated, ethnically diverse urban communities. Fundamental to Canyon-Johnson’s investment thesis is its commitment to a “triple bottom line” philosophy of achieving superior financial results, fostering opportunities within urban communities, and embracing environmental responsibility. With nearly $2 billion in committed equity capital, the funds are positioned to facilitate more than $8 billion in development and revitalization in major U.S. metropolitan areas. For more information, visit

About Lowe Enterprises
Los Angeles-based Lowe Enterprises is a leading national real estate investment, development and management firm. Over the past 38 years, it has developed, acquired or managed more than $16 billion of real estate assets nationwide. Through its investment management affiliate, the firm currently manages in excess of $4 billion in real estate assets on behalf of institutional and investment clients. Lowe’s hospitality management division, Destination Hotels & Resorts, is consistently rated one of the top 10 independent hospitality management companies in the United States with more than 30 luxury and upscale hotels, resorts and conference centers under management. In addition to its Los Angeles headquarters, Lowe Enterprises maintains regional offices in Denver, Irvine, San Francisco, Sacramento and Washington, D.C. For further information on Lowe’s activities, please visit

About Hilton Hotels
Hilton Hotels is the stylish, forward-thinking global leader of hospitality that welcomes guests in more countries than any other full-service hotel brand. The Hilton brand currently includes more than 530 hotels and resorts in 76 countries, and plans to serve travelers in 80 countries by the end of 2011. By offering innovative products, services and amenities, Hilton enables travelers to be at their best 24/7, whether traveling for business or leisure. Start your journey at

About Hilton Worldwide
Hilton Worldwide is the leading global hospitality company, spanning the lodging sector from luxurious full-service hotels and resorts to extended-stay suites and mid-priced hotels. For 91 years, Hilton Worldwide has been offering business and leisure travelers the finest in accommodations, service, amenities and value. The company is dedicated to continuing its tradition of providing exceptional guest experiences across its global brands. Its brands are comprised of more than 3,600 hotels and 590,000 rooms in 81 countries and include Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Hilton, Doubletree, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Hotels, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton and Hilton Grand Vacations. The company also manages the world-class guest reward program Hilton HHonors®.


Canyon–Johnson Urban Funds
Steve Sugerman

Lowe Enterprises
Karen Diehl

Washington Hilton
Danielle Mackey

Also See: Magic Johnson's Private Equity Fund and Lowe Enterprises Purchase the 1,119 room Hilton Washington for $290 Million; Planning a $100+ Million Renovation for the Irreplaceable Property / May 2007

To search Hotel Online data base of News and Trends Go to Hotel.OnlineSearch
Home | Welcome| Hospitality News | Classifieds| One-on-One |
Viewpoint Forum | Industry Resources | Press Releases
Please contact Hotel.Onlinewith your comments and suggestions.