Noble Acquires Stormont Hospitality Group

Noble Investment Group, one of the hospitality industry`s leading owner/operators of upscale and premium branded hotels, today announced that it has acquired Atlanta-based Stormont Hospitality Group, one of the industry`s foremost developers of luxury and first-class hotels, convention centers and resorts, specializing in complex public and public/private projects.
The combination creates a company with an owned portfolio of more than $240 million in premium hotel assets. The company, along with its subsidiaries, also operates 60 hotels with more than 8,300 rooms in 18 states. With the acquisition of Stormont, Noble establishes a strategic development platform and a significant pipeline of public and public/private hospitality projects with a prospective aggregate value in excess of $500 million.
Noble`s new development division will be called Stormont Noble Development with offices at Noble Investment`s Atlanta headquarters at 1100 Monarch Tower on Peachtree Road in Buckhead. The entire staff of Stormont Hospitality will join Noble Investment. Richard M. “Dick” Stormont, CHA, and James M. “Jim” Stormont, Jr., will be managing directors of the new division responsible for developing opportunities for the company. John Cooper will run the division as vice president of development and will report to the executive committee of Noble, headed by Mitesh Shah, Noble Investment president and chief operating officer. “Noble has been a major owner/operator for nearly 25 years and recently expanded aggressively into third-party management with the formation of Alliance Hospitality Management,” Shah said. “Relative to risk as an owner, today`s return-on-invested-capital requirements make major private hospitality development difficult. The acquisition of Stormont gives us one-of-a-kind expertise in the financially accretive public/private hotel development arena and establishes Noble as one of the industry`s leading fully integrated organizations. We now have the ability to combine capital, professional development and preeminent management to bring to fruition these hard-to-replicate projects. This will be a strong platform for Noble`s future growth.
“The Stormont name has been associated with some of the most significant public/private hospitality projects in the U.S. In many of the 18 notable projects the Stormont organization has successfully completed, ownership has received a prominent hotel that is anchored to a first-class convention or conference facility. The grants for each project by the local municipality and/or university, in addition to other extensive support, enabled Stormont to create multifaceted hospitality developments whose real value is significantly above the actual private cost of the project.
“These successful transactions are a testament to Stormont`s ability to spearhead multiple construction, legal and financial components and strategies, to navigate through complex government and regulatory processes, and to obtain essential economic benefits and subsidies. The outcome has been valuable projects for ownership and considerable economic benefits for the municipality and/or university,” Shah said. “Stormont is a national leader in this most complex form of development and the group most sought-after throughout the country to partner with on significant projects.”
“What particularly attracted us to Noble Investment was the company`s unwavering commitment to the communities in which they operate, and the quality of people and product they have assembled,” said Dick Stormont. “Noble`s culture will perpetuate Stormont`s philosophy that `Profitability is designed in, and perfected by Management.`
“From a business perspective, this combination is a classic win-win situation,” he added. “Noble provides Stormont with access to necessary capital and aligns us with a preeminent operating company. Stormont adds complementary skills to make Noble Investment truly a full-service hospitality company, one of the few in the industry on this scale, with a proven track record of developing and operating premier hospitality projects. I look forward to playing an active role in the company`s growth by bringing to fruition the current pipeline and seeking new growth opportunities.”
Stormont Hospitality brings to Noble Investment several executed development agreements that represent an active pipeline of new projects. “Joining forces with Noble gives us the organizational strength and experience to compete against any other hospitality organization in the country,” said Jim Stormont. “With access to Noble Investment`s capital and experienced management, we significantly enhance our ability to develop and operate fine hotels, resorts and conference centers.”
Shah noted that Noble Investment will continue to drive another company initiative of achieving accretive growth through the acquisition and repositioning of upscale hotels. “We have an active acquisition pipeline, and we expect to close on several of those opportunities by year end. Stormont Noble Development will provide valuable expertise in the redevelopment portion of these projects, as well.”
Shah added, “The addition of Stormont also allows Noble to compete with the top-tier companies in our industry as developers and operators of privately capitalized projects. In addition to having unique, in-depth expertise in the public/private sector, we also will offer a full range of services to other owners, including premium brand and product planning, asset renovation and repositioning, as well as the management of the intricate development and financing process. Stormont has been successful in carving out a niche in this area, and now Noble will be able to drive long-term investment value for owners by successfully operating or asset managing the hotel upon completion.”
Stormont Hospitality Group traces its roots to 1984, and has been responsible for developing over $550 million in premier hospitality projects, including more than 4,000 rooms and nearly a quarter of a million square feet of conference and meeting space. A partial list of completed projects includes the $133 million, 750-room Baltimore Waterfront Marriott; the 405-room Norfolk Waterside Marriott; the 250-room Renaissance conference center hotel in Portsmouth, Va.; the 300-room Wichita Hyatt Regency; the Emory University Conference Center in Atlanta; and the 300-room Franklin Marriott Cool Springs, which Noble purchased from Stormont two years ago. Major projects currently under way include the 300-room Marriott hotel and conference center for the City of Sugar Land, Texas, which is nearing completion, and the 349-room Marriott resort at Horseshoe Bay near Austin, Texas that has just broken ground.
The first new public/private project under this strategic Noble platform is the 150-room Hilton Garden Inn and 10,000-square-foot Suffolk Conference Center in Suffolk, Va., which includes a marina, docks and city park adjacent to the Nansemond River. The total municipal contribution to the project is more than $20 million, and construction is slated to begin in the next 30 days. Stormont Noble Development will develop the project, and Noble Investment will own and operate the hotel and conference center.
A 40-year hospitality veteran, Stormont Noble Development Managing Director Richard Stormont is a highly regarded industry leader, recognized for his expertise in hotel development and management. He previously was chairman and principal of Stormont Hospitality Group, LLC and its predecessor companies, Stormont Trice Corporation and the Stormont Companies. He was one of the early operational leaders for Marriott Corporation and held a number of senior positions with Marriott, including vice president of the Marriott Franchise Division and vice president operations for the initial Courtyard by Marriott Hotel Division.
Active in industry and civic activities, he is director of the Cornell Society of Hotelmen and the founder of the Georgia Hospitality and Travel Association. He has twice served as president and chairman of the board of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau. He served as a member of the executive committee of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), and as chairman of the statewide tourism division of the Georgia Governor`s Board of Industry, Trade and Tourism (GDITT). He currently is a member of the board of directors of Lenbrook Square Foundation. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration.
Jim Stormont was formerly president of Stormont Hospitality Group, LLC and chief financial officer of Stormont Trice Corporation. Additionally, he held operations positions with Marriott Corporation and is a regular speaker at hotel industry conventions and at universities. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Middlebury College and an MBA from Cornell University. Founded in 1979, Noble Investment Group, LLC is one of the nation`s foremost privately held, hotel ownership, management and development companies. Noble and subsidiaries currently own and/or manage 60 hotels with more than 8,300 rooms in 18 states and have a number of active projects in their development and acquisition pipeline. The company is a major partner and franchisee of premium-branded hotels under the Marriott, Hilton, Starwood and InterContinental Hotels Group brands.