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Report: Pritzkers’ Hyatt Center sold for $625M

From Bloomberg | A source with knowledge of the transaction says the Pritzker family has sold Hyatt Center, a 48-story office tower in downtown Chicago, to closely held Irvine Co for $625 million.

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Ambassador East update to lead hotelier’s ‘fresh start’

Storied New York hotelier Ian Schrager says he is about to launch his next “fresh start,” kicking it off with an update of Chicago’s Ambassador East hotel.

The 64-year-old founder of the hip Morgans Hotel Group Co. and a co-owner of the former Studio 54 disco in Manhattan, plans to start two trendy hotel chains. One will cater to the luxury lifestyle and the other will be a more affordable take on hip, large-scale urban hotels. Get the full story »

Strike today at Palmer House Hilton

Workers picket outside the Palmer House Hilton Thursday. (E. Jason Wambsgans/Tribune)

In the second such demonstration at a Hilton property in two months, workers at the Palmer House Hilton are on temporary strike today.

The strike at the property at 17 E. Monroe St. is joined by similar strikes at Hiltons in Honolulu and San Francisco and follows a 3-day strike two months ago at Hilton Chicago.

Unite Here Local 1 union spokeswoman Annemarie Strassel said workers are “outraged that Hilton finagled $180 million in bailout funds” while their expired contracts lingered. Get the full story »

McPier drops pursuit of potential hotel site

McCormick Place officials are abandoning a two-year effort to acquire a neighboring block for potential hotel development, officials said today.

The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority will drop legal proceedings aimed at acquiring several adjoining parcels through condemnation proceedings, said Renee Benjamin, the authority’s general counsel. Get the full story »

Blackstone takes over two Chicago-area hotels

From Bloomberg | New York-based private equity giant Blackstone Group has taken ownership of a Chicago hotel — the Wyndham Chicago Downtown, located at 633 N. St. Clair St. Along with this, Chicago Real Estate Daily is reporting that Blackstone Group has also taken control of a suburban Westin as part of a 14-property distressed deal set in motion two months ago.

Hyatt sells 3 suburban hotels for $51M

From Crain’s Chicago Real Estate Daily | Hyatt Hotels Corp. sold three suburban Chicago hotels — the Hyatt Lisle, Hyatt Deerfield and Hyatt Rosemont — for $51 million. The buyer, a joint venture of AREA Property Partners and Aimbridge Hospitality, will continue to operate under the Hyatt flag under long-term franchise agreements. Get the full story>>

Hyatt defends safety record after OSHA complaints

Hyatt Hotels Corp. defended its safety record Tuesday, following an announcement by the hotel workers union that it has filed complaints with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration on behalf of Hyatt housekeepers.

The complaints are being filed on behalf of workers at 12 Hyatt properties, including four in Chicago, citing more than 780 injuries that have been recorded on OSHA logs at those hotels. Unite Here, the union filing the complaints, cited injury rates that are 50 percent higher than the rest of industry.

Robb Webb, chief human resources officer for Chicago-based Hyatt Hotels Corporation called Unite Here’s accusations of a dangerous work environment “false” and aimed at increasing union membership and dues. Get the full story »

Hilton agrees to make hotel rooms accessible, pay fine

Hilton Worldwide Inc. agreed to settle charges that it violated requirements that its hotels be accessible to people with disabilities and agreed to bring them into compliance, the Department of Justice said Tuesday.

The settlement covers about 900 hotels in the United States built after Jan. 26, 1993, including those owned as part of franchises, and Hilton will also pay a $50,000 civil penalty, the department said. Get the full story »

Hyatt housekeepers to file OSHA complaints

Hyatt housekeepers in eight cities are expected to file complaints today with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, complaining of injuries they sustained on the job.

The complaints are being filed against the company by workers at 12 Hyatt properties, including four in Chicago, with the backing of Unite Here, the hotel workers union that has launched a campaign against the chain in an effort to lower the number of room housekeepers are expected to clean. Get the full story »

JW Marriott hotel to open in Burnham’s bank building

JW Marriott will open its first branded hotel in Chicago Nov. 11, a 610-room facility in Daniel Burnham’s Continental & Commercial National Bank Building in the Loop.  Get the full story »

McDonald’s European chief to run Accor Hotels

McDonald’s announced today that European president Denis Hennequin will resign to become Chief Executive Officer of the Accor Hotel Group. His departure will be effective at the end of the month.

Before Don Thompson’s promotion to president and chief operating officer early this year, Hennequin was considered to be a dark horse candidate for the position, which is widely considered to be CEO-in-waiting. Jim Skinner, the current CEO, is 66.

“Denis’ leadership made a tangible difference in our key segment of Europe,” Skinner said in a statement.  ”The European team’s dedication to our Plan to Win business strategy elevated the restaurant experience for our customers. We wish Denis well in his new role at Accor.” Get the full story »

Hyatt profit soars 83% on business travel rebound

The Park Hyatt hotel in downtown Chicago. (E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune)

Hyatt Hotels Corp. posted sharply higher quarterly profit on Wednesday as demand for business travel improved.

The hotel owner and operator, controlled by the Pritzker family in Chicago, posted third-quarter earnings of $30 million, or 17 cents per share, up from $5 million, or 3 cents per share, a year earlier. Get the full story »

Hotel replaces room keys with cell phones

Visitors to a Stockholm hotel will be able to use mobile phones instead of keys to unlock the doors to their rooms. Assa Abloy AB, the world’s largest maker of door locks, has launched a pilot in which Clarion Hotel Stockholm will lend customers mobile phones with close-range radio chips, much like devices used for contact-less payments at gas stations. Get the full story »

Hyatt to add Park Hyatt in New York expansion

Hyatt Hotels Corp. intends to open its first luxury hotel in New York–a 210-room Park Hyatt–in a Midtown condominium tower under development by Extell Development Co. In unveiling plans for the luxury hotel, set to open in 2012, Hyatt has gone from just one hotel in Manhattan–the Grand Hyatt in Midtown–at the start of this year to now having plans for six. Get the full story »

Merz Apothecary moves to Palmer House

Merz Apothecary will close its store inside Macy’s on State Street at the end of the day Wednesday, and begin the week-long process of moving to the Palmer House a few blocks away.

The family-owned business, known for its homeopathic remedies and colorful bath products, plans to open at the historic hotel at 17 E. Monroe St. on Nov. 4. A grand opening is slated for Nov. 11.

The new location at the historic hotel — on the first floor near the bellhop and the Starbucks — will expose the Chicago retailer to thousands of tourists a day, said Anthony Qaiyum, owner of Merz. Get the full story »