Friday, April 16, 2010

HEI Hotels & Resorts Named 2010 Energy Star® Partner of the Year

 NORWALK, CT—HEI Hotels & Resorts (HEI), the nation’s fastest growing private owner/operator of hotel real estate,  has been named a 2010 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year for outstanding energy management and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

This marks the second major energy conservation related award the company has received over the past 5 months, along with the prestigious 2009 Corporate Energy Management award from the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) presented November 2, 2009 at the 32nd World Energy Engineering Congress held in Washington D.C.

“HEI has been committed to sustainability since our inception and to receive this recognition is validation of our investment of time and money to this tremendously important mission,” said Gary Mendell, (top right photo)  HEI’s chairman and chief executive officer. “We will continue to be a leader in hotel energy management, and plan to continuously push the envelope ever forward, as the spirit of the Partner of the Year dictates.”

HEI was the only hospitality-focused company and lone Connecticut-based business to win the ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year award in 2010. The 2010 Partner of the Year Awards recognize efforts to use energy efficiently in facility operations and to integrate superior energy management into overall organizational strategy.

Award winners are selected from more than 17,000 organizations that participate in the ENERGY STAR program. With the help of ENERGY STAR, Americans saved $17 billion on their energy bills and reduced greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of 30 million vehicles last year alone.

“HEI is leading the fight against climate change through greater energy efficiency,” said Gina McCarthy (middle left photo) , EPA assistant administrator for air and radiation. “HEI’s robust energy management program is a model for others and affirms that energy efficiency is our most cost-effective climate strategy.”

“HEI’s long-term commitment to energy conservation and the related positive environmental impact has become an integrated facet of our culture.

"It is wonderful to see industry giants like the EPA/ENERGY STAR and the AEE recognizing our efforts,” said Bob Holesko, (lower left photo) HEI’s vice president, facilities.

 “Since we began our energy management programs in 2005, we are measuring an annual energy cost avoidance of more than $3 million.

(HEI's Marriott property in Boca Raton, FL, middle right photo)

The company has a number of sustainability programs in place. In 2009, HEI launched its ‘Energy Looking Glass®’, a proprietary energy monitoring dashboard that optimizes energy use across its portfolio.

 Furthermore, the company has set additional benchmarks for further energy and waste reduction for 2010. HEI plans to reduce energy consumption company-wide by 5 percent in the coming year by continuing its 2009 programs targeting operational awareness and conservation.

 While 2009 focused largely on the efforts of its general managers and chief engineers, a new program in place in 2010 includes the executive chefs, executive housekeepers and banquet managers. In an effort to further empower associates to get involved, HEI launched a social responsibility program in September 2009

. Entitled “We CARE,” the program focuses on four areas: communities, associates, relationships and environment. The company will continue its environmental efforts in 2010, focusing on trash and recycling programs to determine what can be done to reduce waste and improve recycling.

Media Contact:

Jess Petitt, HEI Hotels & Resorts, 203-849-2228,

Interstate Hotels & Resorts Signs Joint Venture Agreement with Jin Jiang Hotels to Manage Hotels in China

 ARLINGTON, VA—Interstate Hotels & Resorts, the nation’s largest independent hotel management company, has signed a joint venture agreement with Shanghai Jin Jiang International Hotels Company Limited (“Jin Jiang Hotels”), China’s leading hotel operator and developer, to create a platform to pioneer third-party hotel management in China.

The joint venture, called Interstate China Hotels & Resorts, has already entered into discussions with prospective clients.

Interstate China Hotels & Resorts will open an office in Shanghai and has begun a search for a chief executive officer to lead the joint venture.

“We will build a similar platform to ones we have successfully established in Moscow, Mexico and, most recently, India,” said Thomas F. Hewitt, (top right photo)  Interstate’s chairman and chief executive officer.

“We have already begun putting the infrastructure in place to support our planned growth in China, one of the most dynamic hotel markets in the world, and we continue to expand our existing third-party business in the Americas and Europe.”

Mr. Yu Minliang, chairman of Jin Jiang Hotels, noted, “We believe this will be a milestone in the development of the services sector in Shanghai and China. Interstate will be the first independent hotel management company in China, which will give it a competitive advantage over companies that follow in its footsteps. We expect the Sino/U.S. collaboration will be mutually beneficial to both parties.”

Shanghai Jin Jiang International Hotels (Group) Company Limited is one of the leading hotel operators and managers in China. The Group is licensed to use the well-regarded “Jin Jiang” and “Jin Jiang Inn” brands.

As of 31 December 2009, the Group operated and was developing 546 hotels, including star-rated hotels and Jin Jiang Inn budget hotels, providing close to 90,000 rooms in aggregate.

 With a solid home base in Shanghai and Beijing, the Group has also successfully spanned its hotel network across 137 cities and towns in 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities throughout the PRC.

 In June 2009, the Group was ranked the 13th in the world in terms of number of rooms according to HOTELS Magazine, the official publication of the International Hotel & Restaurant Association. For information about Jin Jiang Hotels, visit the company’s website:


Jerry Daly  or Carol McCune, (703) 435-6293,
Carrie McIntyre,  (703) 387-3320,

Innkeepers USA Trust Provides Business Update

PALM BEACH, FL – Innkeepers USA Trust (OTC: INKPP) announced that it did not make certain scheduled monthly interest payments on certain of its debt obligations and may not make future payments on certain of its debt and franchisor obligations.

As a result of the challenging economic conditions facing the hotel industry, Innkeepers’ board of trustees has determined it is in the best interest of Innkeepers’ stakeholders to take measures to preserve the company’s value, protect the company’s relationships with its franchisor partners, customers, vendors and employees and to maintain sufficient financial resources to continue normal daily operations.

 Accordingly, Innkeepers also announced that it had retained the services of financial and legal advisors to assist the company in an evaluation of financial alternatives, including a potential restructuring of the company’s balance sheet.

“Innkeepers has a long history as a leader in the branded extended-stay hotel segment,” commented Marc Beilinson, chief restructuring officer of Innkeepers. “It is our goal to preserve the company’s reputation as a leader in the industry and continue to serve our guests at each of our 73 hotels.”

Beilinson said that all hotels owned by Innkeepers are open and operating in the ordinary course of business and that all hotel and corporate employees will continue to be paid and receive benefits as usual.

The company will have no further comment at this time about this matter beyond what is contained in this press release.

Contact: Dennis Craven, CFO;  Mark Murphy, General Counsel; Innkeepers USA Trust,  Telephone: (561) 227-1302 Telephone: (561) 227-1336

Apartment Association of Greater Orlando (AAGO) offering Free, Online Market Surveys and Website to all property owners/managers in Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and Volusia counties.

ORLANDO, FL – The Apartment Association of Greater Orlando (AAGO) announced that they are now offering a free online market survey tool and free password protected apartment website to all property managers/owners in Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and Volusia counties.

They recently partnered with Orlando based to handle all of their online market surveys.

According to Gary Scarboro, Executive Vice President of AAGO, “AAGO was the first apartment association in the country to offer this free service to all apartment owners and managers. Now the owners or property managers from Daytona to St. Cloud/Kissimmee can just go to, click the market survey button and log in to update their rents/occupancies and run a free market survey on up to 9 apartment properties surrounding their community.

According to Ron Wenzel, President of AAGO and Regional Property Manager for Archon Residential Management, L.P. based out of Irving Texas, “Archon supports the program through the local apartment association here in Orlando and throughout the state of Florida.” Wenzel said the system is “very quick, easy to understand, user friendly, and an enormous time‐saver.

It provides information sharing opportunities about occupancy trends and rental rates in real time and not in weeks or even months.” Before using he was using other industry reports which “were released well after the fact from various other sources.”

Wenzel goes on to say these reports are “oftentimes outdated and not at all valid. In today’s market, rents are changing weekly if not daily. We need a reliable source specifically catering to the apartment industry to give us this much needed, up‐to‐date, and factual data. This data is not at all a guess or even subjective based on who you might speak to in the leasing center on any given day.”

Wenzel adds “with, we have been able to provide excellent direction for making intelligent decisions. We can also see trends whether they are positive or negative. We are then able to formulate appropriate plans or make necessary adjustments to remain leaders in both occupancy and in effective rates across the state.”

He concludes “It is also a great resource for underwriting new deals and or existing loans which, we may not have time to either call or shop in person. We are absolutely thrilled to be a part of and an active participant in statewide.”

“This is the first online market survey system that is designed specifically for the property managers and the local apartment associations” said Mr. Robert E. Smith, (top right photo) Founder of He added, “The apartment association’s membership consists of owners, management companies and vendors who sell products or services to the apartment communities.

This system allows the property manager/owner to save time. It also gives the product or service providers another opportunity to advertise their products or services directly to property managers.

 In addition, the apartment association can boost its membership, since the website was designed to send everyone who calls an apartment property for a market survey to the apartment association’s website. Property owners and managers also get a free password protected website at ( just for participating with the online market survey.”

The Apartment Association of Greater Orlando (AAGO) is a non‐profit trade association representing owners, developers, investors, managers and employees of apartment communities in the Greater Orlando Metropolitan Area. AAGO is affiliated with both the Florida Apartment Association and National Apartment Association; members of AAGO are also members of the state and national associations.

Currently, AAGO represents over 125,000 apartment units, 180 management companies, 520 apartment communities, and 280 associate members. Associate members are suppliers, vendors, and contractors dedicated to the apartment industry.

 AAGO is a not‐for‐profit membership organization created by and for apartment owners, builders, developers, management companies, and their employees in the property management business. We offer our members professional certification programs, continuing education opportunities, lease and addendum forms, legislative advocacy and communication of industry issues.

For more information, please call:
Apartment Association of Greater Orlando (AAGO) MyRentComps.Com, Gary Scarboro, CAE, CAPS, Executive Vice-President,
 Robert E. Smith, CCIM Founder,   340 N. Maitland Ave., 350 East Pine Street, Maitland, Florida 32751 Orlando, FL 32801, Tel: (407) 644‐0539 Fax: (407) 644‐6288,  (407) 206‐3791,  Fax: (407) 206‐5930, Web Sites:,,

Marty Lanigan Joins Meridian Capital Group, LLC as Senior Managing Director of Origination and Strategic Initiatives

April 12, 2010, New York, NY – Meridian Capital Group, LLC, one of the nation’s largest commercial real estate mortgage brokerages, announced today the addition of Marty Lanigan (top right photo) as Senior Managing Director of Origination and Strategic Initiatives.

Mr. Lanigan will be responsible for overseeing the company’s origination efforts nationally and implementing key strategic initiatives designed to enhance Meridian’s product and service capabilities. He will report to Ralph Herzka, (middle left photo)  Meridian’s President and CEO.

Mr. Lanigan joins Meridian at a pivotal point in its history and strategic growth plan. Meridian, founded by Mr. Herzka in 1991, has placed more than $100 billion in commercial real estate debt since its inception, assuming an undisputed position as a national market leader in commercial real estate mortgage finance.

 In 2009, Meridian added an important agency lending platform to its product line by establishing a correspondent relationship with Beech Street Capital, LLC, a Bethesda, MD-based Fannie Mae DUS lender.

In his new role, Mr. Lanigan will work to leverage Meridian’s existing platform by expanding both the company’s production capacity and the breadth of its lending products.

“What attracted me most about Meridian is the opportunity to build on the enormous accomplishments that Ralph and his team have made to date,” said Mr. Lanigan. “The challenge of continuing the firm’s ambitious tradition and further developing its reach, expertise and capabilities is especially exciting at a time when many others are retrenching or maintaining a defensive position.”

“I am delighted that Marty will be joining our outstanding team at Meridian. I have no doubt that he can apply his vast skill and experience to maximize the potential of our origination capacity and product array,” said Ralph Herzka, Meridian’s President and CEO.

“This is a very exciting time in the growth curve for Meridian. By adding new key team members like Marty, we are positioning Meridian to become the leading U.S. commercial real estate mortgage finance company,” added Herzka.

Contact:: Jonathan Stern, Meridian Capital Group, LLC, 212/972-3600,