|By Jerome R. Stockfisch, Tampa Tribune,
Fla.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Dec. 20, 2012--TAMPA -- Driftwood Hospitality Management has acquired the Hyatt Regency Tampa and expects to re-flag the downtown anchor hotel as a Hilton next year.
The sale price was not revealed. A brokerage firm had been marketing the property since the summer, and the contract to keep the Hyatt brand name expired in November.
Mike Diaz, chief operating officer at Driftwood, said a combination of factors drove the deal.
"We like the continued steady growth that we see in the Tampa market for the next few years," he said. "And there are not a lot of downtown markets that we go into that aren't flying a Hilton flag, so that in itself is an opportunity."
Diaz said revenue per available room and average daily room rates were up 19 percent and 14 percent respectively in the Tampa market, which he called "significant numbers."
He also cited the stature of the building as a driving force in the acquisition. The 18-story glass facade hotel at Jackson and North Tampa streets was built in 1982 and has 521 guest rooms, including 14 suites, and 30,000 square feet of meeting and ballroom space.
The hotel features the full-service Avanzare restaurant and lounge, a heated outdoor pool, rooftop whirlpool, gift shop and fitness center.
The deal represents a re-entry into the Tampa market for Driftwood. The company bought the riverfront Radisson hotel in 2005, converted it to the Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk Hotel and sold it in 2007.
Driftwood, which has offices in Miami, Scottsdale, Ariz. and Costa Rica, said it will invest $13 million into property renovations at the former Hyatt beginning in the coming weeks.
Driftwood will reconfigure the hotel's first floor, updating the lobby and restaurant. The location will be home to a Starbucks coffee shop and other new amenities.
The company said guestrooms and meeting spaces will be "refreshed" in late 2013.
A Driftwood statement said it would bring "substantial upgrades" to the property.
"We look forward to a long relationship with the city and working with the talented personnel at the hotel to provide our guests with an exceptional hotel experience," the statement said.
Effective today, the hotel is operating as Hotel Tampa -- A Hilton Affiliated Property. On completion of the first phase of renovation, which is slated for the second quarter of 2013, it will be reflagged as the Hilton Hotel Downtown Tampa.
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