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James Hotel Sold:

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Jan. 25th, 2006 | 03:54 am
posted by: oliveurban in azhotels

James Hotel sold for $46.5M
The Business Journal of Phoenix
Laura Newpoff January 24th, 2006

Scottsdale's swanky James Hotel has been sold to a New York operator of boutique hotels in international gateway cities.

Dubbed "the retreat for the modern traveler," the 220-room James opened in January 2004 after being converted from the old Doubletree Inn at 7353 E. Indian School Road.

New York-based owners Stephen Hanson and Danny Errico sold the property to Morgans Hotel Group for $46.5 million.

Representatives from both companies couldn't immediately be reached for comment. The sale is expected to close April 30.

The James' rooms sell for more than $500 a night and include fine touches such as 300-thread count sheets, large plasma televisions and European Pillow Top mattresses. The hotel also includes the FiAmma Trattoria restaurant.

Hanson and Errico are expected to use money from the sale to develop other James Hotels, including one opening in March in Chicago and planned locations in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Boston and Las Vegas.

"The hotel has been an incredible success, but as the brand evolved, the Scottsdale property did not necessarily fit the portfolio we were developing in our new urban locations," said Hanson.

Brent DeRaad, vice president of marketing at the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the opening of the hotel, its signature restaurant and its hip J/Bar concept created a considerable amount of national awareness about Scottsdale's thriving downtown and nightlife scene.

"The James' success has led to the refurbishing of Hotel Valley Ho and groundbreaking for the new W Hotel in downtown Scottsdale," he said.

Hanson has been involved in the New York restaurant scene for more than 15 years through his company, B.R. Guest and its 15 eateries. In 2004, he partnered with Errico, founder of the Equinox Fitness Club chain, to launch the James in the Old Town section of Scottsdale and a contemporary, tech-savvy fitness chain called The Gym, which is part of the hotel property.

The pair has hired Brad Wilson, former vice president of operations for the W Hotels concept, to develop the James brand.

Morgans, founded 20 years ago and a pioneer on the boutique hotel concept, owns and operates nine different properties in places such as New York, Miami and London.

According to language in a recent Morgans' Securities and Exchange Commission filing, the deal was agreed to in December. The company said it intended to improve the performance of the property and rename it Mondrian Scottsdale and pursue synergies with its existing hotel, Mondrian Los Angeles. The filing said Morgans would renovate the hotel "to create our distinctive lodging experience for a first-quarter 2007 re-opening and replace the existing operating structure with our experienced management team and extensive infrastructure."

For more info: www.morganshotelgroup.com, www.jameshotels.com.

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