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Hospitality Investors Group and Ospinas Form Joint Venture to Plan, Finance,
Develop and Operate Hotel Projects in Colombia, South America

OGOTA, Colombia, Feb. 10, 2011 - Ospinas & Co., a leading Colombian real estate firm and Hospitality Investors Group (HIG), the international hotel developer, today announced the formation of a joint venture to plan, finance, develop, and operate hotel projects throughout Colombia.  

The joint venture will be the first hospitality group in Colombia with comprehensive knowledge of both the Colombian market and internationally-branded hotel development, and will have the capacity to offer comprehensive services to select clients among all product types in the hospitality sector.

"The alliance is an integrated practice, which will assuredly have an impact on the promising tourism and the fast growing business sectors in Colombia.  By offering hospitality services that meet the needs of both business and tourist travelers, our joint venture sets a new standard for the hospitality industry in Colombia," says Andres Arango, President of Ospinas.

The first project under development by the joint venture is a mixed-use development in Cartagena's Bocagrande district with a 5-star hotel, luxury residential, and high-end commercial shopping component.  

"We work closely with the leading international hotel operators, and it is clear to them that now is the perfect moment for Colombia ," says Frank Orenstein, Chairman, HIG.  "Up until now the support for international hotel brands has not existed in the country, however, the platform our joint venture provides has created immediate and overwhelming interest for our first project in Cartagena."

An international competition is being held to determine the operator of the hotel and residences at Jorge Washington in Cartagena.  Six of the strongest hotel operators from across the globe have submitted financial projections and the top candidates are preparing final proposals. A final choice will be made by the joint venture in the next few weeks and will then be announced.  

Internationally renowned architect Daniel Bonilla designed the Cartagena project which will feature a unique pool and restaurant level with a disappearing pool feature overlooking out over the Caribbean.

While the Cartagena project is the first to be announced, the joint venture has also identified a pipeline of additional projects throughout Colombia on which development will begin rapidly.  Projects will range from limited service to 5-star hotel properties similar to the current Jorge Washington development.  

In addition to its development and technical capacity, the joint venture will also be able to offer access to equity capital, operating agreements with top hotel brands worldwide, operator credit support, and completion guarantees.  

Ospinas and Hospitality Investors Group were brought together by Excend Capital Group, an investment banking consultancy firm out of Salt Lake City, Utah.  Excend has a niche focus on emerging opportunities in Latin America, assisting South American clients in finding capital opportunities among institutional and private equity investors.

ABOUT OSPINAS. Ospinas & Co. has been one of the leaders in Colombian real estate for 79 years, playing a major part in residential, municipal, office, and commercial shopping development in Bogota and throughout the country.  Ospinas is the leader in shopping mall development for the last 20 years, and recently finished work on the largest shopping center in Colombia, the Centro Mayor, in Bogota.  In recent years Ospinas has led the movement of urban renewal in Colombia, repurposing and rebuilding for mixed –use very large development projects that have captured the spirit of opportunity that resonates in Colombia over throughout the last decade.  

ABOUT HOSPITALITY INVESTORS GROUP (HIG). Hospitality Investors Group, led by Frank Orenstein, is a hospitality development group with experience and relationships at the very highest levels throughout the worldwide hotel industry.  Mr. Orenstein was one of the founding executives and first head of worldwide development the Four Seasons Hotel and Resorts in Toronto.  Over the past 40 years Mr. Orenstein has participated in the development and financing of hundreds of hotel properties from 3-star limited service to exotic 5-star luxury resorts, such as the newly opened Four Seasons Resort in Bora Bora.

ABOUT COLOMBIA. Colombia is the natural gateway to Latin America with major ports on both the Atlantic and Pacific, long-term growth prospects facilitated by the major advances in national security over the past 9 years, and a pro-growth stable business environment.

ADDITIONAL QUOTES."When HIG associates with and develops a project, it does so from start to finish, through each stage of the project, and experiencing its development and personality.  This approach is focused not only on the design concepts of the project as such, but also includes the attraction of investors and capital for development. We are confident that Colombia is a great place to apply our knowledge, and that Ospinas is an exceptional partner ally and knows the local market," says Frank Oreinstein, HIG's Chairman"Our main aim is to broaden the offer of services available in Colombia.  We want to give the projects a distinctive stamp, adding value which will make the difference.  As of today, we will be able to offer integrated consulting to strategic partners, in the form of real and creative solutions, including finance, design concepts, operation, human resources, management and marketing, and many more.  The experience of Frank Oreinstein, marks the difference.  He has been the owner of many important hotels over the last 40 years, and has a thorough knowledge of client needs," says Andres Arango, President of Ospinas."Without a doubt, Colombia is a country which today offers many opportunities to develop well-conceived exciting hotels, offers.  We wanted to arrive in Colombia as a partner to one of the most important local firms, and this is a perfect combination of two organizations who will work hand in hand. Ospinas is sharing almost 80 years of experience and knowledge of the local market; and HIG is offering its international experience of more than 40 years, development and structuring of creative solutions for hospitality projects," says Frank Oreinstein, Chairman of HIG.

Philippa Daniels, FD, +1-212-850-5679

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