Oxford secures third Chicago deal

Oxford Lodging has purchased the 495-room Holiday Inn City Centre in Chicago in a joint venture with the Dubai Investment Group.The deal gives Oxford Lodging and its affiliated property management company, Kokua Hospitality, LLC, control of nearly 1,400 rooms at three high-profile properties in the heart of the city’s Magnificent Mile shopping, dining and cultural district.

The new owners will immediately rechristen the 26-floor property on East Ohio Street the Chicago City Centre Hotel & Sports Club and launch a property-wide design change encompassing guest rooms, public spaces, 17,000 square feet of convention and meeting space and the addition of a three-meal restaurant. To satisfy anticipated growth in central Chicago room demand in 2007, the hotel will actively target business, convention and leisure travelers during the rebranding project.

The acquisition is the third in Chicago in less than a year for Oxford Lodging, which is investing more than $35 million to renovate and rebrand the three properties. In 2006, Oxford-led investment groups acquired the 443-room Allerton Crowne Plaza Chicago on North Michigan Avenue and 357-room Best Western Inn of Chicago on East Ohio Street, both located within blocks of the Holiday Inn City Centre. San Francisco-based Kokua Hospitality will manage all three properties.

“Oxford Lodging continues to target Chicago because the city has done such a tremendous job of attracting business, group and leisure travelers,” said Robert D. Kline, president and co-founder of Oxford Lodging, who announced the acquisition with Dubai Investment Group from Teachers’ Retirement System of Illinois, represented by Stone-Levy, LLC. “Since we already own and operate properties here, Chicago affords us another key competitive advantage. Kokua Hospitality can now more fully leverage the significant operational economies of scale that come from managing and marketing three landmark hotels in the Magnificent Mile district - not the least of which is our ability to offer a variety of product to a diverse visitor population.”

“With this acquisition by Oxford Lodging, the Chicago City Centre is well positioned to move to the next level,” explained Arnold S. Levy, president and CEO of Stone-Levy, LLC, investment advisor to the Teachers’ Retirement System of Illinois. “The addition of the City Centre to Oxford’s growing Chicago portfolio enhances its opportunities in and vision for Chicago.”


Kokua Hospitality’s redesign and rebranding of the Holiday Inn City Centre is intended to strengthen the hotel’s historic appeal with both leisure and business travelers, thanks to its location equidistant to the Magnificent Mile, Navy Pier, Millennium Park and McCormick Place, and expanded recreational offerings including the largest hotel-based sports club and spa in Chicago, an indoor/outdoor pool and view-oriented pool deck.

In addition to the fitness center and pool, the design change will encompass guest rooms and suites, the hotel’s lobby and public spaces, meeting rooms and the addition of a three-meal restaurant adjacent to the lobby.

“We’re fortunate to be able to work with Oxford Lodging and Kokua Hospitality to leverage both companies’ strong presence and working knowledge of the Chicago market,” explained Anthony Juliano, executive director of Dubai Investment Group. “We remain bullish on Chicago, and the new Chicago City Centre Hotel & Sports Club will help us leverage the city’s growing demand for rooms ideally situated for both leisure and business/convention visitors. The rebranded property will give guests more reasons to stay here.”