First aloft franchise breaks ground

Starwood and its much-anticipated new lifestyle brand, aloft hotels, have announced the groundbreaking of the world’s first franchised aloft hotel, aloft Rancho Cucamonga.The hotel is owned by a joint venture between The John Buck Company (TJBC), a Chicago-based real estate firm, and Interstate. The joint venture recently announced plans to build five to ten aloft hotels over the next several years, which will be managed by Interstate under long-term management agreements. The aloft property is expected to open in the first quarter of 2008.

The 136-room aloft Rancho Cucamonga will be located at the northwest corner of 4th Avenue and Haven. aloft is the hotel component of a $60 million master-planned, mixed-use development called HavenPark, which is owned by L.A-based Hileman Co.

“Our mission with aloft is to bring style, convenience and a social environment to an otherwise tired, lonely experience,” said Ross Klein, President, W Hotels Worldwide and the aloft brand. “We look forward to bringing an affordable, fun, new way to play and stay to Rancho Cucamonga when we open our doors in 2008.”

“We are honored to make hotel history with this groundbreaking of the inaugural franchise property,” said John A. Buck, TJBC chairman and chief executive officer. “Starwood’s W Hotels has reinvented the upscale hotel category, and we believe aloft will have the same effect on the premium select-service segment.”

“Our long-standing relationship with Starwood includes operating many properties across several brands,” said Thomas F. Hewitt, Interstate’s chief executive officer. “We look forward to expanding our relationship with Starwood with the first franchised aloft and as we continue to develop additional aloft hotels.”

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“We are aggressively seeking other sites for aloft hotels and are in active negotiations in prime locations across the country,” said Paul Novak, TJBC’s managing director, hospitality division, who oversees the joint-venture’s development activities.

“Development in joint ventures is another avenue for our growth strategy,” said Leslie Ng, Interstate’s chief investment officer. “We like the upside potential of the aloft brand and the excitement it will bring to the markets we enter.”
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