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Industry Briefs
Atlanta Mayor Welcomes Comfort Suites Downtown Atlanta
Atlanta's Mayor enthusiastically lauded Choice Hotels International and successful African-American investor, Evens Charles, for opening the sparkling new Comfort Suites hotel in Downtown Atlanta. Mayor Kasim Reed, addressing the opening of the all-suite hotel, the first Choice Hotels property in the downtown area, showered praise on the lodging company as well as investor Charles, for bringing a first rate business to an important corridor in Atlanta, Georgia's commercial center.

"I appreciate your decision to invest in this part of town. We are really going to stand shoulder to shoulder with you to ...literally revitalize the corridor along your doorstep," declared a delighted Mayor Reed as he addressed investors, hotel executives and media at the hotel's opening reception. "You all have done the hard work, you all have put your capital on the line, you all have put your business relationships on the line, you secured financing, you have secured a best in class partner and I am going to step up and do my part as the leader of this city and make sure that your capital investment is well cared for so that you do more deals in the city of Atlanta," an elated Mayor Reed pledged.

The Comfort Suites Hotel in downtown Atlanta, located at 54 Peachtree Street SW, is an innovative adaptive re-use of a historic building and features 156 well-appointed suites as well as two banquet/meeting rooms. Charles, who previously opened his first hotel (a Comfort Inn property) in Martinsville, Virginia, recalled when he and his investors acquired the building it was in a "bad economy, financing was not available," and they had a short time frame to put together a plan. "We went to Choice Hotels and requested a non-traditional franchisee-franchisor relationship, and they stepped up to the plate, signed on the dotted line and agreed to the franchise relationship," he reported.
Brian Parker, vice president of Emerging Markets and New Business Development of Choice Hotels International, re-stated the solid commitment of Choice Hotels to working with minority entrepreneurs. The faith of Choice Hotels in such entrepreneurs was well placed and Parker congratulated Charles and his team on the excellent job they completed in renovating and repositioning the property to the beautiful hotel that it is today.

"This property will be one of the most unique and prestigious Comfort Suites properties that we have in the entire Choice Hotels system," Parker proclaimed, noting that with more than 6,000 hotels across 10 brands and one membership program, "we have never had our flagship brand in downtown Atlanta. That's a huge accomplishment and testament to Evens and his team."

Andy Ingraham, president and CEO of the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators & Developers (NABHOOD), noted the significance of the opening "because it clearly illustrates that a young African-American (visionary) with a great team can do anything." Choice Hotels International is committed to showing the way for minority entrepreneurs and first time hotel investors who have limited experience in the lodging industry, but are willing to look at exciting new franchise opportunities.

Pictured above from left: Brian Parker of Choice Hotels, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, hotel investor Evens Charles and Choice Hotels' Isaac Brown.

Additional corporate information may be found on the Choice Hotels International, Inc. Web site, which may be accessed at