General Motors (NYSE: GM) today awarded the management contract for the 1,392-room hotel in Detroit`s Renaissance Center to Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE: MAR). The name of the hotel will be changed from The Westin Hotel, Renaissance Center Detroit to Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center. The facility will undergo a $100 million renovation, one of the largest hotel renovation projects ever undertaken, to transform the 73-story tower into a world-class hotel with an elegant, third- level lobby, and new ballroom.
The selection of Marriott culminates a thorough review of more than a dozen hotel management firms. The Marriott name will be raised upon the hotel`s marquee following a 60-day transition period between Marriott and Westin management teams. Westin opened the hotel in 1977 and will continue to manage the property during the transition.
“Not only will it be a beautiful hotel, but it further reflects GM`s confidence in the economic vitality of downtown Detroit,” said Matthew P. Cullen, general manager of GM`s Enterprise Activities Group, which has worldwide real estate responsibility for the corporation. “We—and our partner, Marriott—would not be taking this step if we didn`t have full confidence that this project will prove to be an attractive investment.”
“The level of service and comfort the hotel will provide are all the more important because the Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center will serve as a home away from home for GM business partners and employees from around the world, ” added Cullen. “As a series of major new downtown projects come online over the next few years, the need for a world-class hotel at Renaissance Center will become increasingly important. We look forward to working with Marriott to build a new standard of excellence embodied in this hotel.”
In making the decision, General Motors worked closely with hospitality consultants, Landauer Associates, and Hines, the property management and development firm that manages the Renaissance Center for GM. Among key variables included in the analysis were: global presence; depth and strength of leadership; guest service ratings; financial success; employee training standards; and major convention trade experience.
“Westin has given this city more than 20 years of committed service,” said Cullen. “We appreciate both their commitment to this property over the last 20 years as well as their cooperation during this transition period. ”
“Although we are disappointed in not being given the opportunity to manage the facility, we will work diligently with Marriott to ensure a smooth changeover because it is in the best interests of our employees and the hotel itself,” said Hud Hinton, executive vice president of operations for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. - Hotel Group, parent company of Westin. “Westin remains committed to Detroit and will actively pursue other growth opportunities in the downtown area. We also are pleased to maintain our presence in the greater metropolitan area with The Westin Southfield-Detroit.”
“We are excited to bring our global hotel expertise to General Motors headquarters and to add this Detroit landmark to our worldwide network of hotels. Operating a hotel the size of the Renaissance Center property in a major city is important to Marriott,” said Allain Piallat, senior vice president of Marriott Lodging and head of the transition team for this project. “To play an important role in the renaissance of the downtown area by managing Detroit`s signature hotel is a great opportunity. ”