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Wyndham Hotels & Resorts Offering to Take Over as the
 Franchise at the Former Hilton Pittsburgh

By Mark Belko, Pittsburgh Post-GazetteMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

September 15, 2010 -- The Wyndham Hotels & Resorts is offering to take over as the franchise at the former Hilton Pittsburgh.

An attorney for hotel owner Shubh Hotels Pittsburgh said today the hotel would be branded as a Wyndham Grand, Wyndham's top brand.

"It is the elite brand of Wyndham Hotels," attorney David Rudov said.

Wyndham is willing to put $1 million in improvements into the property, said Jonathan Kamin, another Shubh attorney.

He also said the chain has committed to adding a high-end spa.

Pending approval by U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the Wyndham could become the flag for the hotel as soon as next Friday, Mr. Kamin said.

Under Wyndham, the property would be operated as a four-star hotel, he added.

The disclosure came during a hearing today to determine whether Shubh lender BlackRock Financial Management Inc. would be able to foreclose on the property after the hotel lost Hilton Hotel & Resorts as its flag. BlackRock said the loss of the Hilton name caused a default under Shubh's $49.6 million mortgage. The foreclosure prompted Shubh to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The lender seeking to foreclose on the former Hilton wants a week to mull an offer by a Tampa cardiologist to take over the troubled hotel.

Robert Simons, attorney for BlackRock Financial Management Inc., told U.S Bankruptcy Court Judge Jeffery Diller that it needed more time to consider the offer by Dr. Kiran C. Patel.

Mr. Simons said the lender is being forced to choose between Hilton Hotels & Resorts, which is prepared to return as the franchise to the hotel if the property ends up in foreclosure, and the Wyndham franchise with which Dr. Patel has reached a deal.

However, attorneys for Shubh Hotels argued against a delay, saying they are prepared to go forward with Dr. Patel's plan to take over ownership of the hotel and pay off creditors.

Judge Deller recessed the hearing for a short time this morning to give both sides time to try to reach a consensus

Mark Belko: or 412-263-1262.


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