Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. announced that it has completed the sale of the 275-room Atlanta.mobi Perimeter Hotel & Suites to RockBridge Partners, a division of RockBridge. The property, which will be franchised, is located just north of Atlanta’s city center and will be managed by Wischermann Partners, Inc. The hotel will continue to be affiliated with Starwood Hotels & Resorts and its award-winning Starwood Preferred Guest® program.
“Starwood’s decision to sell the Atlanta Perimeter Hotel & Suites is reflective of our continued asset-light strategy,” said Simon Turner, President of Global Development, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. “We continue to pursue opportunities to sell our owned real estate at the right time to the right owners in the best interest of shareholders.”
As part of the transaction, RockBridge has committed to extensive property enhancements within the next 18-months, after which the hotel will fly Starwood’s Le Méridien flag.
“Le Méridien brand’s success under Starwood is catching the attention of great owners and developers, such as RockBridge, and is driving high-profile deals in primary locations across North America,” said Allison Reid, Senior Vice President, Starwood Acquisitions and Development, North America. “We are so pleased to again work with RockBridge on our third conversion opportunity, following the newly opened Sheraton Stamford and Sheraton Ann Arbor, as they, along with Wischermann Partners, share in our vision for the property. We look forward to collaborating with them to bring Le Méridien to the Atlanta market.”
Le Méridien was acquired by Starwood in November 2005 and has benefitted from Starwood’s centralized services and expertise in lifestyle brand building. Since the acquisition, Le Méridien has gone through a full brand re-launch, including a comprehensive portfolio review as well as a re-development of brand strategy, marketing approach and service culture training. With the strongest portfolio and performance levels in the brand’s history, Le Méridien is also gaining momentum in North America with additions, such as the recently converted Le Méridien Arlington, Le Méridien Philadelphia and Le Méridien Chambers Minneapolis.
Jim Merkel, President and CEO of RockBridge commented on the project stating, “We are excited about the opportunity to complete our third Starwood conversion in the past few years and to do our first project involving Le Méridien. The comprehensive renovation and rebranding of the hotel, coupled with the strength of the Starwood system, will position the property as the premier hotel in the market.”
“Our goal is to create memorable guest experiences by pairing exceptional product design and functionality with a service culture of excellence,” remarked Paul Wischermann, President of Wischermann Partners. “Atlanta, as a global hub, is the right location for this property connecting with Starwood’s strong upper upscale and luxury customer base.”
Conversions continue to be the primary driver of new hotel growth for Starwood using a pragmatic approach that ensures brand standards are maintained while balancing the needs of owners. In 2011, Starwood opened more hotels than previously predicted in North America because of the addition of several high quality conversions that were signed and opened during the course of the year. Conversions made up 75% of Starwood’s openings and 63% of its new deal signings in North America last year.