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Case Study: Residence Inn Charlotte South

CONCEPT: When Hospitality Ventures, LLC acquired the Residence Inn Charlotte South in Charlotte, NC, it was both a blessing and curse that it was a generation one Residence Inn. Although the previous owners had barely kept up the asset, the blessing, according to Rob Flanders, director of business development for the project’s designer/contractor, IDC Construction, LLC, was that generation one Residence Inns are generally well received and offer spacious rooms. With that in mind, IDC went about updating the property to give it a more modern residential feel. While Marriott International had a lot of influence on the design specifications, IDC managed to better align the property within its corporate environment and added landscaping that utilized southern trees, plants and flowers, said Kathe Lopez, general manager.

The entire project, which involved the interior and exterior of all 11 of the property’s buildings, began in April 2005 and concluded that December. All 116 suites received new wall coverings, carpeting, window treatments, bed skirts, framed mirrors in the vanity areas, granite bathroom countertops and more functional furniture with new sleeper sofas and side chairs. A business center was also added and the 480-sf meeting room was upgraded. In 36 rooms, microwaves were installed over the stoves, which required the removal of some cabinetry. “We basically did a generation five renovation, although generation seven is the latest version,” Lopez said. “The project involved a massive amount of landscaping, with trees being removed or cut back and retaining walls installed near the pool with a new deck.”

Though the project was completed only two months ago, Lopez said that its impact on the hotel’s performance has been immediate, especially when you consider that before Hospitality Ventures bought the asset, the flag was in danger of being pulled by Marriott. “We’ve even sold out on January nights, which I don’t think ever happened here before,” said Lopez, who further noted that during December, ADR was up 11% and occupancy was up 4%. “The renovation definitely did it.”