Monday, March 5, 2012

Hilton Alexandria Mark Center Completes Multi-Million Dollar Renovation in Alexandria, VA

 ALEXANDRIA, VA, March 5, 2012—Davidson Hotels & Resorts, one of the nation’s largest independent hotel management companies, today announced that the 496-room Hilton Alexandria Mark Center (top left photo) in historic Alexandria, Va., has completed a multi-million dollar renovation.

  Davidson has managed the hotel since June 2005 and oversaw the renovation project, designed by Paradigm Design Group of Cypress, Texas.  The hotel is owned by a private investment fund advised by Crow Holdings Capital Partners, L.L.C.

“In this market, it is particularly important that a hotel of this stature remain in top condition,” said Patrick Lupsha (middle right photo), Davidson’s chief operating officer. 

“All guest rooms were totally renovated last summer, and we’ve now completed an update of the lobby and meeting spaces to bring the areas that impact the guest experience to ‘like new’ condition.  We are confident that the significant capital investment will enable this landmark hotel to retain its dominant position in this part of the Washington D.C. market.”

The Hilton Alexandria Mark Center’s 55,000 square feet of meeting space was enhanced with new carpet, wall and window coverings and regional artwork.  The lobby was redesigned to encourage guests to recharge themselves and their laptops and cell phones, using a soothing palette of blues, neutral tones and warm wood accents that give the public spaces a timeless, elegant feel.

“Because of its proximity to the Pentagon and Old Town Alexandria, guests at this hotel expect a level of historic charm and modern convenience that is sometimes a challenge to balance,” said Charlie Banta (lower left photo), general manager.  “Paradigm Design did an outstanding job of blending old and new in a sophisticated, classically dramatic way.” 

Paradigm Design Group’s recent projects can be viewed at

 Additional information on Davidson may be found at the company’s Web site,


:Cyndi Norwood                                Jerry Daly, Chris Daly (media)
Davidson Hotel Company                Daly Gray Public Relations
(901) 821-4155                                 (703) 435-6293

Patrick Daly
Account Supervisor
Daly Gray, Inc.
Office:  (703) 435-6293
Cell:  (703) 300-8289

Interstate Hotels & Resorts Adds Landmark JC Mandarin Hotel in Shanghai to Growing China Management Portfolio

ARLINGTON, VA, March 5, 2012—Interstate Hotels & Resorts today announced that Interstate China has executed an agreement to manage the 514-room Shanghai JC Mandarin Hotel (top left photo), effective February 1, 2012.  The hotel is owned by Shanghai Jin Cang Mandarin Hotel Ltd. 

“Our international growth strategy continues to accelerate in China, with the addition of the JC Mandarin Hotel to our international portfolio, our third hotel in the dynamic city of Shanghai which includes the DoubleTree by Hilton Shanghai-Pudong,” said Jim Abrahamson (middle right photo), Interstate’s chief executive officer. 

“The JC Mandarin is a five-star hotel in every sense of the word, from its first-class amenities to its legendary, first-rate guest service, a tradition we intend to build on.” 

This activity follows a previous announcement that the Company has been named to manage the luxury J Hotel located in Shanghai Tower, anticipated to be the world’s tallest hotel scheduled to open in 2014.

“China’s hotel industry has tremendous growth potential ahead, and we intend to play an important role in its expansion,” he added.  “We currently have eight hotel management agreements covering over 3,100 rooms, and have the infrastructure in place to accommodate rapid growth.

“Interstate has well-established relationships with major international brands and has the in-house expertise to assist owners and developers in positioning their hotels, renovations and brand conversions, as well as ground-up construction. 

China’s hotel industry is evolving rapidly, and we believe our experience substantially differentiates us from other hotel management companies.” 
Located at the center of the city’s business and shopping districts at world-famous Nanjing Road (lower left photo), the JC Mandarin Hotel is truly a Shanghai landmark.  Its well-established five-star service, combined with its history of providing the finest in accommodations and luxury to guests, have made the JC Mandarin one of the city’s best-known hotels. 

 For more information, visit the Shanghai JC Mandarin Hotel’s website:

For additional information about Interstate, visit the company’s website:


Jerry Daly, Chris Daly
U.S. media
Daly Gray

Patrick Daly
Account Supervisor
Daly Gray, Inc.
Office:  (703) 435-6293
Cell:  (703) 300-8289

Steve Buckler and Macaire Matchett Join Hyatt Place Braintree Hotel’s Senior Leadership Team

 BRAINTREE, MA, March 5, 2012 – The 204-room Hyatt Place Boston/Braintree hotel, anticipated to open in May of 2012, today announced that Steve Buckler (top right photo) has joined as general manager and Macaire Matchett (top left photo) as director of sales as the hotel’s pre-opening senior leadership team.

Buckler brings with him 40 years of hospitality sales and operations experience, most recently as vice president, sales and marketing, for Broughton Hospitality Group and prior to that, as vice president, sales and marketing, for Pan Pacific Hotels & Resorts.

His operations experience includes leadership-level positions as general manager at the Pan Pacific Hotel in San Diego and as a regional vice president of marketing and operations for three four-star hotels in Australia, New Zealand and Vanuatu, in addition to corporate sales and marketing responsibility in the South Pacific Region.

 Buckler has also held director-level sales and marketing positions, including leading a sales and marketing team during a 650-room expansion and repositioning of a luxury hotel in San Diego, and opening three four-star Hyatt hotels in Baltimore, Orlando and Atlanta.

Macaire Matchett joins the Hyatt Place Braintree (lower right dining room photo) as pre-opening director of sales, bringing extensive sales experience and knowledge of the Boston-area market to her new position.

Most recently she was director of sales at the Homewood Suites by Hilton, Canton, Mass., responsible for leading sales and marketing for a new build hotel.  Prior to that Matchett was a sales manager at the 157-room Hyatt Place Boston/Medford hotel for four years, responsible for group and corporate sales. 

 For more information, visit the hotel’s website at:

 Media Contacts:

Steve Buckler
General Manager

Patrick Daly
Account Supervisor
Daly Gray, Inc.
Office:  (703) 435-6293
Cell:  (703) 300-8289

Atlanta CRE Show: Zoning for Dollars

 ATLANTA, GA (March 5, 2012) – With cities and counties desperate to pump up sagging economies and land available at dirt-cheap prices, this is a great time to buy properties and rezone them for more profitable uses. But an increased willingness by local governments to approve requests doesn’t mean property owners can get away with being lackadaisical in their rezoning efforts.

 Those were two of the points guests shared on the most recent episode of the “Commercial Real Estate Show,” which provided strategies and best practices for rezoning in today’s economic climate.

 “This is a better time than it’s been in a long time to try to get rezonings because, frankly, governments have the ‘We’re Open for Business’ signs out,” said Seth G. Weissman (top right photo), a professor at Georgia Tech and partner with Weissman Nowack Curry & Wilco. “Jurisdictions that used to have hundreds of cases on the docket now have one or two zoning cases.”

 “We have talked to the planning departments in several markets where we are selling land in the southeast and they say, ‘We’ll let you build almost anything – we just want you to come here and build and bring some jobs,” said show host Michael Bull (top left photo), founder and president of Bull Realty.

However, not all rezonings are slam-dunks in today’s market, cautioned Doug Dillard (middle right photo), a zoning attorney and partner with Weissman Nowack Curry & Wilco.

 Local government planning departments don’t have a lot to do these days and staff members who have survived layoffs are anxious “to justify their existence,” Dillard said. “So, sometimes they make [rezonings] a little tougher.”

 Before seeking a rezoning or early on in the process, a property owner or developer should talk with the local planner, the elected officials who will ultimately decide the case and the affected neighborhood groups, Weissman advised. “At the end of the day, that is the best way to take the temperature and figure out if this is a rezoning that has a prayer,” he said.

Those asking for a rezoning also should be diligent in meeting with those groups throughout the process, Weissman and Dillard added.

 The person speaking on behalf of the zoning applicant in hearings and other meetings cannot be “faint-hearted or thin-skinned,” Weissman said. “You need to have someone who is not going to get emotionally wrapped up in the case but can present it in an even-handed, calm way.”

 “Many times the opposition is emotional, and it [becomes] very personal,” Dillard added.

Weissman also noted that not raising certain constitutional issues during a zoning hearing will forfeit an applicant’s right to appeal a decision in court. The use of a zoning attorney can prevent a property owner or developer from being placed in such a situation, he said.

 Other topics included standard rezoning timelines, negotiating tactics and property sales that are contingent on the buyers getting the properties rezoned. The full show is available for download here.

 The next “Commercial Real Estate Show” will be available March 8 and will examine the issues surrounding commercial leases.


Stephen Ursery
Wilbert News Strategies

Invest Atlanta Helps Thrust Interactive With New Headquarters

 (from left) of Thrust Interactive CEO Jesse Lindsley, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Invest Atlanta Vice President Bill Cronin.

  ATLANTA, GA  (March 5, 2012) – Invest Atlanta – Atlanta’s Development Authority –has assisted Thrust Interactive, an Atlanta-based third-party development studio for online and mobile games and apps, in its move to a new headquarters in the city’s Inman Park neighborhood.

Specifically, Invest Atlanta provided site selection and advocacy support for Thrust Interactive.

The high-tech gaming company - started eight years ago in the owner’s house - just moved into its new headquarters at 741 Edgewood Ave. The 4,500-square-foot freestanding loft building houses the company’s 20 employees and provides room for expected growth. The company already has hired nine new employees in 2012 and plans to expand their team further due to growing demand of the gaming industry in Atlanta.

Mayor Kasim Reed – who also chairs Invest Atlanta – attended the recent opening of Thrust Interactive’s new headquarters and praised Thrust CEO Jesse Lindsley for starting and growing a company in the city. At the event, Thrust also introduced its latest game – Boomblastica.

“I am pleased about the growth and success of Thrust Interactive, an Atlanta-based business,” said Mayor Reed.  “I congratulate Jesse on the opening of the new headquarters and applaud Invest Atlanta for its role in supporting this and many other small businesses across the city. Together, we will continue to attract world-class talent, create jobs and bring new companies to Atlanta.”

Thrust Interactive’s new headquarters, previously a commercial photography studio is equipped with sets resembling vintage 1920s Southern California beach cottages. This unique build-out enables the space to double as an incubation center for emerging indie development teams.

 Thrust Interactive’s story is indicative of Atlanta’s position as a top city for high-tech and creative companies, said Brian P. McGowan (top right photo), president and CEO of Invest Atlanta.

“Atlanta offers young entrepreneurs, especially those in the technology and creative fields, an attractive environment for growth and job creation,” McGowan said. “Invest Atlanta is proud to have assisted Thrust Interactive and looks forward helping many more similar firms as they grow in the city.”

Entertainment tax credits for digital gaming companies have played a role in Thrust’s growth, Thrust CEO Lindsley said. While Thrust Interactive itself has not received any of the credits, they have helped Thrust attract key clients that do benefit from the credits.

“When we started Thrust, our kitchen was the conference room, and our board room was in the garage,” Lindsley said. “Thanks to the city of Atlanta’s pro-business stance under Mayor Reed, we now have a full-fledged headquarters where we can collaborate and continue to grow.”

The Thrust Interactive relocation offers a prime example of how Invest Atlanta, working with the Georgia Department ofEconomic Development and Metro Atlanta Chamber, can help creative companiesgrow, thrive and remain in the city of Atlanta said Amanda Shailendra (middle left photo), business development manager at Invest Atlanta.

“I enjoyed working with our partners, the Georgia Department of Economic Development and Metro Atlanta Chamber, to help make expansion possible for Thrust Interactive,” Shailendra said. “Home-grown companies like Thrust Interactive that create new jobs are exactly the typeInvest Atlanta works to help.


Krunali Parekh
Wilbert News Strategies
C:  404.901.4433  
D: 404.965.5024

EagleBridge Capital Arranges Mortgage For Boston Mixed-Use Portfolio

 Boston, MA --  EagleBridge Capital has arranged permanent mortgage financing in the amount of $4,500,000 for a portfolio of three properties situated in the Brighton section of Boston, Massachusetts on the Brookline line. 

The mortgage financing was arranged by EagleBridge principals Ted. M. Sidel (middle right photo) and Brian D. Sheehan (middle left photo) who stated that the loan was provided by a leading regional financial institution.

The portfolio is composed of Brighton Heights (top left photo), a two-story 20,000 square foot office building, located at 167 Corey Road, 3 Washington Street which is leased to the Brighton Auto Clinic, and 5 Washington Street which is leased to U.S. 1 Petroleum.  The buildings are located across from the Brighton Whole Foods Supermarket in an area of apartments, office buildings, and retail stores.

Tenants at the Brighton Heights office building include Medical Digital Photography, 3d Diagnostics, Biomedical Modeling, Brookline Driving School, Crimson Language Service, IMS 2000, Wellbeing Chiropractic, and Chinese Natural Health.  Brighton Auto Clinic is a long established auto repair and maintenance shop. U.S. 1 Petroleum a full service has station. 

Mr. Sidel and Mr. Sheehan stated, “This was an unusual combination of properties, but the solid location and experience of the borrower impressed our lender. We are pleased that EagleBridge was able to structure very competitive mortgage financing that met the borrower’s needs.”

EagleBridge Capital is a Boston-based mortgage banking firm specializing in arranging debt and equity financing as well as joint ventures for industrial, office, and r & d buildings,  shopping centers, apartments, hotels, condominiums and mixed use properties as well as special purpose buildings.


Ted Sidel                                                                                              
(617) 292-7177,  EXT. 10

33 Broad Street,
Boston, MA  02109 
TEL: 617.292.7177   FAX: 617.292.7575