White Lodging exits suburban hotels, investing $750 million in new projects

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White Lodging has sold its last five remaining suburban hotels, after selling 25 suburban hotel management contracts to Pennsylvania-based HHM for an undisclosed sum earlier this year.

The Merrillville-based hospitality company is pivoting to focus on upscale urban hotels, such as high-end downtown properties in cities like Indianapolis, Austin, Louisville, Chicago, Denver, San Antonio, Nashville and Charlotte.

“White Lodging’s vision and focus are clearer than ever,” said Jean-Luc Barone, White Lodging’s CEO of hospitality management. “In addition to business clarity, our focused portfolio is tailored to support clearer career paths for associates with multiple hotels in concentrated urban markets — most just blocks away from each other.”

The company now has 50 premium hotels, 40 restaurants, 10 rooftop bars and luxury ranches across the nation. It shifted to primarily serve urban markets with upscale properties catering to business travelers and tourists.

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Last year, the company opened four new hotels, including J.W. Marriott Charlotte, Canopy San Antonio Riverwalk, Moxy Austin University and Austin Marriott Downtown at the convention center. It also opened nine restaurants and bars.

Flush with proceeds from the sales on the suburban management contracts, the company plans to invest $750 million in hotels in San Antonio, Austin and Nashville, President Ken Barrett said.

It’s renovating a 251-room in Texas into The Otis Hotel San Antonio, Autograph Collection, which is expected to open next year. It will start construction on another luxury hotel in the Texas city where they never forget the Alamo before the end of the year. 

White Lodging also is working on projects in August and Nashville, where it purchased a large parcel of land in the SoBro entertainment district. It also acquired land near the convention center in Austin.

Founded by Bruce White in 1985, White Lodging is one of the country’s largest hospitality companies.