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Procaccianti to leverage internal
design firm

CRANSTON, RI— With the importance of design growing as both independent and branded hotels look for unique style that will set them apart and owners and developers become more active participants in the design process, The Procaccianti Group (TPG), based here, has taken that involvement one step further by establishing its own in-house design firm known as TPG Design.
The roots of the design sector of TPG can be traced back to John Wormley, who is now vp of design for TPG Design. After handling a renovation of the Holiday Inn Downtown Providence for TPG back in 1996, Wormley, who had his own company at the time, started designing a few properties a year for TPG. “In 2000, James Procaccianti [TPG’s president/CEO] suggested I come over and join TPG and handle all of the design work. They were busy buying properties and would have more than enough work to keep us busy, so I came on board along with four people that were working with me at the time,” he said. Since then, TPG Design handled all of the design as well as all of the purchasing work for the company. “It’s been very interesting to do this, it’s a whole different spin on how design works.”
However, even with an in-house design firm, the hectic pace of acquisitions in the still-booming hotel market has let TPG Design to seek outside assistance. “As of 2006, we were still doing all of the design work. But now, TPG is buying portfolios, sometimes four to six hotels at a time,” explained Wormley. “Rather than expand in-house, we made the decision to outsource some of the design work.”
Wormley elaborated on how with this new flurry of projects, his role as head of TPG design has evolved. “Even with outsourcing some of the design to other firms, we still oversee all of the execution. It’s really just an extension [of TPG Design]. When we take on an outside company, everything is presented to me first,” he said, adding that then he presents those designs to James Procaccianti for approval. “We let the firms know what works and what doesn’t.”
However, his role as liason between TPG and an outside design firm can also put Wormley in a difficult position. “It can be tough, firms can present a design that is beautiful, but is not functional in terms of longevity. We have to convey to them that we want to purchase products that will last for five to seven years— we don’t want to have to replace them sooner,” he said.
Thus far, the decision to outsource certain work to outside design firms has been very successful for TPG, according to Wormley. Recent projects include the Hilton Providence in Providence, RI; the Westin Tyson’s Corner in Falls Church, VA (see page 48); the Marriott Richmond, VA; the conversion of the Doubletree GuestSuites Downtown Chicago into the Hilton Suites Chicago – Magnificent Mile and the Westin Dallas DFW. On the boards right now is the conversion of the Wyndham Colorado Springs to a Marriott and a renovation of the Hilton Scottsdale in Scottsdale, AZ. TPG is also working on its first ground-up project, an addition to the Westin Providence that will include 103 condominiums.
With a portfolio that currently stands at 50 hotels in 17 states, Wormley reported TPG Design now has six full-time designers on staff and that the company will likely continue with a mix of in-house and outsourcing projects as TPG continues to grow. “Because TPG is an owner/operator, we have a much greater stake in what we do. We’ll continue to outsource as well as do work ourselves…we take design very seriously in order to ensure a top-notch guest experience.”