Category: hotel

WoodSpring Suites proposes new Milwaukee development. The hotel chain’s 2018 plans were rejected by city officials.

An extended-stay hotel chain that has been repeatedly rebuffed in attempts to open its first Wisconsin location is trying again — this time on Milwaukee’s far northwest side.

a car parked in front of a building: A WoodSpring Suites extended-stay hotel is being proposed for the southeast corner of West Bradley Road and North 124th Street.

© WoodSpring Suites
A WoodSpring Suites extended-stay hotel is being proposed for the southeast corner of West Bradley Road and North 124th Street.

A four-story, 122-room WoodSpring Suites is being proposed for the southeast corner of West Bradley Road and North 124th Street. 

That proposal will need Common Council approval — both to rezone the site and to grant a hotel license.

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And it comes over two years after the council rejected a license application for a WoodSpring at 1701 W. Layton Ave., on Milwaukee’s far south side.

That license was rejected in 2018 after then-Ald. Terry Witkowski, whose district included the development site, and nearby homeowners objected.

Witkowski, at a 2017 Plan Commission meeting, said WoodSpring “does not have a great reputation” and has been turned away in other Milwaukee-area communities.

The hotel chain’s niche of offering bargain-priced rooms for guests who stay several days has raised concerns in Milwaukee and other communities.

WoodSpring in 2015 proposed a similar hotel at 4040 W. Layton Ave., Greenfield.

Those plans were opposed by Greenfield officials, who said it would generate a high number of police calls. 

WoodSpring executives disputed that claim, saying their hotels have safe main entrances, security cameras and proper exterior lighting. 

The WoodSpring being proposed on Milwaukee’s far northwest side would be developed by Wichita, Kansas-based New Era Development Group LLC.

New Era’s projects include eight WoodSpring Suites locations in the Columbus, Ohio; San Antonio, Texas; Fort Worth, Texas; and Wichita areas.

Those hotels have received praise from local officials for their safety and security, said Chris Stevens, New Era managing member.

Stevens said New Era operates its hotels with 24-hour staffing, unlike how some WoodSpring locations have been managed in the past.

He also said the WoodSpring chain, which is franchised by Rockville, Maryland-based Choice Hotels International Inc., continues to grow, and operates in metro areas throughout the country without major problems.

The northwest side Milwaukee proposal has the support of Ald. Nikiya Dodd, whose district includes the site, Stevens said.

New Era would likely begin construction by late spring of 2021 if the $10 million project wins city approval, Stevens said.

It would open by late spring or early summer of 2022, he said.

Stevens said the 3-acre site has strong visibility, as well as quick access to nearby I-41.

Tom Daykin can be emailed at [email protected] and followed on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. 

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: WoodSpring Suites proposes new Milwaukee development. The hotel chain’s 2018 plans were rejected by city officials.

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27 Great Holiday Gift Ideas From Truly Chic Hotel Boutiques

NO LONGER cramped kiosks selling postcards and prophylactics, many hotel gift shops have become expertly curated boutiques. And now some of the world’s great purveyors of hospitality have emerged as a solution for online shoppers who need a holiday gift for the curtailed travelers in their lives. Think fancy consumables specific to the hotel’s region, an unusual toy, local things unavailable anywhere else.

If your loved ones have a favorite hotel, to which they return time and again, but can’t this year, a souvenir from its gift shop can be especially thoughtful. Ideal for Aunt Jane who’s been itching to get back to Claridge’s? The London landmark is now selling its tea service for the first time via its online store.

Aunt Jane will be thrilled and you can feel good about yourself: Online Christmas shopping via hotel boutique helps the hard-hit hospitality industry, too. Many top names offer gift cards for future travel. But in the meantime, here’s a wish list of things you can get online and have delivered directly, even if the hotel is closed:

Made in Italy

Emporio Sirenuse at Le Sirenuse, Positano

Opened in 1951 when the Sersale family (and current owners) converted their house into a hotel, this small resort that hugs the Amalfi Coast is an Italian dream come true, with a boutique so chic that the wares—from vibrant caftan to snappy swim trunks—are also sold on Net-a-Porter. Standout item: the Suzani-inspired pillow cases (from $316) that mimic textiles used throughout the 58-room property.

Southern Exposure

Keep Shop at Noelle, Nashville

On the ground floor of this reinvented 1930s downtown hotel, the Keep Shop boutique features a range of home goods and clothing, most made in the Southern U.S., including Stetson cowboy hats (from $125) and an indigo kimono jacket from Nashville designer Oil + Lumber ($175).,

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The world’s biggest third-party hotel operator is growing, even as the pandemic hits hotels hard

Plano-based Aimbridge Hospitality is making bold moves during a crippling pandemic for the hotel industry, naming a successor to the company founder and laying out an ambitious plan to add 120 properties to its portfolio in the next 120 days.

Aimbridge’s plans for expansion come at a time when the hotel industry is suffering massive revenue shortfalls caused by COVID-19 and local restrictions to stem the pandemic’s spread.

The company’s incoming president and CEO Mike Deitemeyer fully understands the severity of the current economic conditions. He said Aimbridge has had to function through the pandemic with at least 20,000 fewer staff due to layoffs and furloughs.

As the industry’s largest third-party management company, Aimbridge handles $10 billion in annual revenue for its hotel owners, CFO Judy Hendrick told CFO Magazine this week. The pandemic has cut Aimbridge sales by 86%, though Hendrick told the magazine “we do not fear downturns; during such times, we have an opportunity to gain market share.”

Deitemeyer is similarly optimistic about the big picture, and believes the company is positioning itself to bring back lost jobs when leisure and business travel recover.

“Our income is certainly suppressed,” Deitemeyer said, “But if you believe in the recovery of our space, the fact that we’ve added hotels… when the economy and hotel occupancies return, we’re going to be in a great position.”

Aimbridge has added 128 properties to its portfolio to date and plans to add another 120 in the next three months. The company said the growth is made possible because of corporate support during unprecedented times.

Private equity-backed Aimbridge has seen “historic organic growth” this year in new properties across all of its verticals, including extended stay, select service, and international segments, according to the company.

It’s taking on management agreements for hotels across North America, including the Hyatt House Chicago, the Renaissance Charleston Historic District in South Carolina and the Element Ontario in Canada. But it’s also raking in agreements in the U.K., announcing this week it will add 31 Jupiter Hotels properties. The expansion brings Aimbridge’s property count in the U.K. to around 160 hotels.

Mike Deitemeyer will take the reins at Aimbridge Hospitality as president and CEO effective January 1, 2021.
Mike Deitemeyer will take the reins at Aimbridge Hospitality as president and CEO effective January 1, 2021.(Aimbridge Hospitality)

The 17-year-old hotel operator named Deitemeyer its new president and CEO this week, effective Jan. 1. Deitemeyer was previously CEO of Interstate Hotels & Resorts and served as Aimbridge’s global president after the competitors merged last year.

Deitemeyer takes over from Aimbridge cofounder Dave Johnson, who will move into the new role of executive chairman overseeing mergers and acquisitions, capital markets and new business opportunities.

“We are pleased to have positioned ourselves for growth,” Aimbridge Hospitality CEO Dave Johnson said in a statement. “As we leverage our scale to add value, owners are responding by adding Aimbridge as managers.”

Andrew Milke, guest services supervisor, works the front desk behind a plexiglass barrier at The Pittman Hotel in Dallas, on Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. The hotel has taken measures to ensure the safety of their employees and guests by installing plexiglass at the front desk, having numerous hand sanitizing stations throughout the hotel and offering safety kits on request, which contain a face mask and sanitizing items.

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Reuben Brothers to Buy New York City’s Surrey Hotel

(Bloomberg) — U.K. real estate investors David and Simon Reuben are buying the upscale Surrey Hotel in New York City, in their latest push into U.S. real estate, according to a person familiar with the matter.

a man standing in front of Simon Reuben, Simon Reuben posing for the camera: Simon and David Reuben

© Photographer: David M. Benett/Getty Images
Simon and David Reuben

The price is less than the $215 million asking price, said the person, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public.


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A representative for the Reuben Brothers declined to comment. A representative for the owner of the Surrey Hotel, Denihan Hospitality Group, didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The tony hotel near Central Park is a recreation of the original Surrey, which was built in 1926 and hosted famous people including John F. Kennedy and Bette Davis, according to its website.

The brothers, London property investors, invested in New York City real-estate this year by buying a condo from SL Green Realty Corp. for $170 million, Bloomberg News reported.

This transaction follows three recent financing deals they did worth more than $300 million, including buying the mortgage of the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort in Miami, as well as a stake in a senior loan tied to the St. Regis Chicago, the person said.

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Cook County investigating wedding reception at north suburban hotel

A Prospect Heights hotel was given a written warning for not following state COVID-19 guidelines after a large wedding-related event Wednesday evening.

And the Cook County Department of Public Health is investigating the incident at the Hilton Chicago/Northbrook, which is in Prospect Heights.

Don Bolger, a health department spokesman, said it was unclear how many guests attended the event. “We won’t know until we get the guest list,” he said Thursday.

Joe Wade, Prospect Height’s city administrator, said he spoke to the hotel’s general manager Thursday and she was “very forthright” and acknowledged there had been a wedding party at the hotel Wednesday.

Wade said the general manager told him at least one hotel employee had urged members of the party to socially distance and wear masks.

Neither the hotel’s general manager nor other representatives from the facility could be reached for comment.

During his daily COVID-19 media briefing Thursday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker described the event as “very irresponsible.”

“This is very concerning to all of us at a moment when we have rampant COVID-19 throughout Illinois,” Pritzker said. “Here we have people who, in a concentrated fashion, have the ability now to go spread it to everywhere that they return to.”

“I’m deeply worried for them and for the communities that they’ve returned to, for their families and so on. I hope that each of them will isolate and get a test.”

Pritzker said it would be up to local authorities to mete out punishment.

The Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association said the event was “unacceptable and does not reflect the careful efforts the hotel industry as a whole has taken since the onset of the pandemic to protect guests, employees and our communities.”

“The hotel industry is committed to working with policymakers and public health officials to ensure this situation is not repeated,” association president and CEO Michael Jacobson said in a statement.

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Tough times: A landmark Boston hotel is sold at a loss

In a sign of the times for Boston’s beleaguered hotel industry, a popular Kenmore Square hotel just sold at a loss.

Florida-based Xenia Hotels & Resorts last month sold the the Hotel Commonwealth to luxury hotel operator Ohana Real Estate Investors for $113 million, $23 million less than Xenia paid for it four years ago.

It’s a rare reversal in price for a trophy piece of Boston real estate, which for the most part has only gone up in value over the last decade. But it has been an unusual nine months in the real estate market, especially for hotels, whose bookings have evaporated amid a pandemic that has largely shut down both business and leisure travel.

Boston has been particularly hard-hit. Through October, it suffered the sharpest drop in business of any of the 25 largest hotel markets in the country, according to Pinnacle Advisory Group, a hotel consulting firm. If that continues, Pinnacle vice president Sebastian Colella said in an e-mail, “We expect to see more hotels close permanently, change hands, and change use.”

The Commonwealth is among the first locally to undergo a change of hands during the pandemic. It’s one of four properties — including a Residence Inn in Kendall Square — that Xenia sold this fall as part of a plan to raise cash to pay off debt.

“Year to date, we have now sold four hotels for nearly $400 million,” said CEO Marcel Verbaas. “These dispositions have allowed us to efficiently raise a significant amount of capital at a superior cost to other alternatives.”

At the Commonwealth, the company is taking a loss to gain some cash. The investment group paid $136 million to buy the hotel, which added 96 rooms and extra meeting space in 2016. The 245-room property was hit hard by the loss of Red Sox fans this baseball season and by a sharp drop in visitors to nearby Boston University. Unlike some hotels near college campuses, the Commonwealth did not lease rooms to universities for student housing. And its ground-floor retail space, which is owned and managed separately from the hotel itself, has been dark since the landmark restaurant Eastern Standard closed during the spring.

The hotel’s new owner, Ohana, operates boutique luxury resorts in California; Park City, Utah; and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. This is its first property in Boston. The company declined to comment but said the Commonwealth’s longtime managers, Sage Hospitality Group, would stay in place and that no major physical changes are planned.

Along with built-in business ― during normal times ― from Red Sox fans and Boston University visitors, the Commonwealth has the advantage of being in a part of town where development has been surging. Developer Related Beal is turning the buildings beneath the Citgo Sign, across Kenmore Square, into lab and office space. It’s also about to start work on a large life-sciences-oriented tower above the Massachusetts Turnpike at Fenway Center.

Fenway Sports Group also recently unveiled plans for a major development

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Board imposes new tax on hotel stays to upgrade Dayton Convention Center

A board that will own and operate the Dayton Convention Center has approved imposing a new 3% tax on hotel and motel stays in Montgomery County to help upgrade the aging downtown event center.

a view of a city: The Dayton Convention Center in downtown Dayton. STAFF

© Provided by Dayton Daily News
The Dayton Convention Center in downtown Dayton. STAFF

The new countywide lodgings tax will help pay for millions of dollars in renovations to modernize the convention center, which is nearly five decades old and has fallen into disrepair and has significant deferred maintenance needs, officials say.

Supporters say the Convention Center is vital to the regional tourism industry and facility improvements will make it more of a destination and increase its competitiveness to help attract more events and visitors.

Dayton to give up ownership of convention center

a large building: The Dayton Convention Center in downtown Dayton. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

© Provided by Dayton Daily News
The Dayton Convention Center in downtown Dayton. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

On Thursday, the convention facilities authority board of directors unanimously voted to approve a new hotel lodging excise tax.

A month ago, the board decided to table a vote on the proposed additional tax levy, saying they wanted more time to review pertinent information and the proposed code of regulations.

The 3% tax will apply to the 71 hotels and motels located in Montgomery County. Combined, they offer nearly 6,700 rooms, officials say.

The new tax applies to any establishment that rents out five or more rooms in the county, officials say.

Montgomery County already has a 3% lodging tax that funds the Dayton Convention & Visitors Bureau and other entertainment-related activities. Dayton, which currently owns the convention center, has a 3% tax that is put toward the facility, but the revenue consistently fell short of covering operating costs.

Montgomery County’s 3% lodgings tax generated about $3.6 million in 2019.

The three-story convention center was built in 1972, and it also has a front and rear addition that were constructed in 1986, featuring meeting and support spaces.

The center offers a large exhibit hall, multiple ballrooms, meeting rooms, a theater, offices, skywalk and other amenities.

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FBI helping investigate killing of Black man in Ashland hotel parking lot

Federal authorities are involved in the investigation of the shooting death of a Black man last month in the parking lot of an Ashland hotel, police said Thursday.

The FBI is working with Ashland police to assess whether Robert Keegan violated any federal laws in the fatal shooting of 19-year-old Aidan Ellison, according to the Ashland Police Department. Keegan, 47, has pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges in Jackson County Circuit Court.

Ashland police on Thursday said the deadly encounter hasn’t been substantiated as a bias crime but that it’s “important to examine all aspects of this case and determine whether a bias crime has been committed.”

A probable cause affidavit says Keegan was awakened Nov. 23 by loud music coming from the parking lot of the Stratford Inn, where he was staying. Keegan asked Ellison to turn down the music, according to the affidavit, and Ellison refused.

Keegan got dressed, “collected his gun” and complained to a clerk about Ellison playing music in the lot, the court document says.

The clerk went to the lot to talk with Ellison. And while the clerk was talking with him, Keegan came to the lot and confronted Ellison, according to the affidavit. The two men began to argue.

Keegan claimed Ellison hit him in the face with a fist several times, according to the affidavit. Keegan said he backed up, racked a round and shot Ellison in the chest because he feared for his safety, the document says.

An autopsy, however, showed no injuries to Ellison’s hands that indicated he punched Keegan, according to the affidavit. Keegan had no visible face injuries.

The shooting drew condemnation from southern Oregon’s Black community.

“The murder of Aidan Ellison is another example of Southern Oregon’s racist history with and current practice of white supremacy,” wrote Southern Oregon Black Leaders, Activists and Community Coalition in a statement. “Aidan was murdered because he was a young Black person who made a white man uncomfortable and refused to submit to that man’s personally-perceived authority – not because he was listening to music too loudly.”

Ellison pleaded guilty Nov. 27, to second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, unlawful possession of a firearm and recklessly endangering another person.

Keegan is being held in custody without bail until his next court date on Feb. 22, officials have said.

— Jim Ryan

[email protected]; 503-221-8005; @Jimryan015

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Unemployment claims drop, but Bay Area tech firms prep layoffs

SAN JOSE — Unemployment claims in California fell to their lowest levels since coronavirus-linked business shutdowns began — but Silicon Valley tech companies and at least one big services firm that caters to the tech sector have prepped new layoffs.

In November alone, Hitachi Vantara, Boston Scientific, Marvell Semiconductor, and PayPal have revealed plans for job cuts for their operations in Silicon Valley, according to official state filings.

Despite the improvement in unemployment claims in California, the disclosures of tech industry layoffs coupled with the reality that weekly jobless filings remain far higher than what is typical in the Golden State are disquieting reminders that the economy in the state and the Bay Area remains feeble.

California workers filed 129,700 first-time claims for unemployment benefits during the week that ended on Nov. 28, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday.

The latest jobless claims totals in California were down 38,500 from the unemployment filings for the week that ended on Nov. 21, when 168,200 California workers filed for jobless benefits.

The totals for the week of Nov. 28 were the lowest since 57,600 California workers filed for unemployment benefits during the week ending on March 14, which was when state and local government agencies began to impose business shutdowns to combat the coronavirus.

Nine months later, business shutdowns appear certain to continue and perhaps even intensify.

The situation is disturbing enough that a growing number of companies and organizations are warning that any new major shutdowns might force them to keep their doors closed permanently if government agencies impose severe closures and restrictions in the quest to battle the deadly bug.

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    Hitachi Vantara offices at 2535 Augustine Drive, Santa Clara. Unemployment claims in California fell to their lowest levels since coronavirus-linked business shutdowns began — but Silicon Valley tech companies and at least one big services firm that caters to the tech sector have prepped new layoffs.

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    Boston Scientific offices at 185 Constitution Drive in Menlo Park. Unemployment claims in California fell to their lowest levels since coronavirus-linked business shutdowns began — but Silicon Valley tech companies and at least one big services firm that caters to the tech sector have prepped new layoffs.

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    Marvell Semiconductor headquarters at 5488 Marvell Lane in Santa Clara. Unemployment claims in California fell to their lowest levels since coronavirus-linked business shutdowns began — but Silicon Valley tech companies and at least one big services firm that caters to the tech sector have prepped new layoffs.

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    PayPal offices at 2211 N. First St., San Jose. Unemployment claims in California fell to their lowest levels since coronavirus-linked business shutdowns began — but Silicon Valley tech companies and at least one big services firm that caters to the tech sector have prepped new layoffs.


In the most recent round of tech layoffs, according to official filings that the state Employment Development Department posted in November:

— Hitachi Vantara said it was eliminating 148

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Cleveland kidnap, murder suspect killed in Louisiana hotel shootout; abducted woman found safe

A Cleveland man accused of kidnapping an Ohio nurse and murdering her mother was killed during a shootout at a Louisiana hotel, authorities said.

James Edward Hawley, a 47-year-old felon, was fatally shot late Tuesday by FBI agents at a hotel in Pineville, Louisiana, where Thoue Nichole Bronowski, 45, was rescued after investigators tracked the pair there, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.


Police said Hawley, aka Ahmad Ben David, kidnapped Bronowski last week from her Cuyahoga Falls home and fatally shot her mother, Norma Matko, 69, at her Barnesville home early on Thanksgiving Day, the newspaper reported.

Authorities suspect Hawley killed Matko and then drove her daughter to Cleveland in her mother’s car before abandoning the vehicle. Hawley then took Bronowski to Louisiana in a second car, investigators said.

Bronowski was found safe after Hawley was killed in a shootout with the FBI at a Louisiana hotel.

Bronowski was found safe after Hawley was killed in a shootout with the FBI at a Louisiana hotel.
(Cuyahoga Falls Police Department / Belmont County Sheriff’s Office)

Bronowski, who works as a nurse for Akron Public Schools and as a clinical coordinator for Akron Children’s Hospital, was reported missing on Thanksgiving by her ex-husband, a police report shows.

Authorities said there was a prior relationship between Hawley and Bronowski, but they did not elaborate, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better result than her being alive,” Cuyahoga Falls Police Chief Jack Davis told reporters. “She has been through a lot … She is going to need time to heal from this ordeal.”


FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jeff Fortunato said Hawley had “posted numerous photos” of himself with firearms on social media and made statements both to others and online that he wanted to “kill some cops,” reported.

Hawley had been sought on a federal warrant including threatening interstate communications and being a felon in possession of a weapon when he was located at the Louisiana hotel, Fortunato said.

An FBI agent was also wounded in the exchange of gunfire with Hawley and was receiving treatment, Fortunato said Wednesday.

“His ideology was violence,” Fortunato said when asked of Hawley’s apparent motive. “Not to be flippant, but that’s the core thing we’re seeing right now.”


Bronowski, meanwhile, is in the process of being reunited with her family, police said.

This article first appeared in the New York Post.

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