Briefs: Outrigger legend dies; CGI Merchant Group, boxer Mayweather partner

Richard R. Kelley dies at 88: Dr. Richard R. Kelley, the veteran hotelier and second-generation leader of one of Hawaii’s biggest locally owned and operated hotel chain, died in Denver on February 24 after fighting Parkinson’s disease. He was 88. An accomplished doctor, he headed Outrigger Hotels and Resorts for decades, leading the company to become Hawaii’s biggest hotel company and spearheading the creation of Hawaii’s Convention Center in Waikiki. Under his leadership, Outrigger underwrote a series of four studies — 1996-1999 — by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) that provided details of the visitor industry’s impact on Hawaii’s economy. In 1998, he was an important member of the Governor’s Economic Development Task Force. Kelley chaired the Hawaii Visitors Bureau and Hawaii Business Roundtable and served on the WTTC executive committee and the advisory board to the Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus. He recently published ‘Paddling the Outrigger: Inspiration and Insights From the Journey of a Lifetime,” a partial autobiographical work focusing on his articles on a range of topics that he authored over the last four decades. Kelley is survived by his wife Linda V. Kelley, sister Jean Rolles, seven children, 15 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.

CGI Founder and CEO Raoul Thomas (left) with boxing legend Floyd Mayweather

CGI Merchant Group partners with boxer Floyd Mayweather: CGI Merchant Group, Miami, Florida, announced a platform-level investment partnership with former boxer and businessman Floyd Mayweather. The platform investment vehicles will welcome other athletes, celebrities and select family offices with the aim to deploy more than US$250 million into commercial real estate assets, including CGI’s flagship Hospitality Fund and other CGI investment vehicles. The partnership is aligned with CGI’s commitment to creating long-term value and seeking to impact and improve the communities where it invests through its ESG aligned social impact strategy. Mayweather has been growing his real estate investment portfolio, which includes several commercial real estate properties across the U.S. totaling to billions of dollars in assets. This partnership follows the recent news of former baseball player Alex Rodriguez becoming a key financier in CGI’s investment fund, which is in talks to acquire Donald Trump’s hotel in Washington, D.C. for US$375 million.

Sevens Group to redevelop Perth riverfront:  Sevens Group Australia, the Pyrmont, New South Wales-based operating and investment group, has announced a US$27 million redevelopment plan in the Nedlands Bath site on the Swan River of Perth in Australia. The group’s plans to create Seven Nedlands Baths, an over-the-water destination, which has been granted the Tourism Project of State Significance status under the government’s Tourism Attractions Case Management framework. The 5-star hospitality and entertainment precinct will comprise a luxury boutique hotel, fine dining, bar, café, function center and a marina brought to life.

UH Hilton College changes name: The University of Houston Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management has been renamed as the Conrad N. Hilton College of Global Hospitality Leadership. The Hilton College faculty unanimously voted in August 2021 to support the name change and the UH System Board of Regents unanimously approved it during it meeting on February 24. The new name does away with ambiguity among employers, recruiters and students, the college said, adding that ‘Hotel and Restaurant Management’ does not resonate today, particularly with parents. The college currently has around 1,000 students from 30 countries, 32 full-time faculty and seven degree programs. Presently, the Hilton University of Houston, the college’s teaching hotel, is undergoing renovation and expansion worth US$30.4 million, which includes a new, five-story, 70-room guest tower which will be completed early next year.

Crescent Hotels adds The Bethesdan Hotel: Crescent Hotels & Resorts, Fairfax, Virginia, announced the addition of The Besthesdan Hotel, Tapestry Collection by Hilton to its Latitudes Collection. The 270-key hotel recently completed a US$20 million renovation, which included refreshed guest rooms, public spaces and meeting spaces. The hotel is the latest addition to the multiple properties that Crescent currently operates in the DC Metro market, adding to Crescent’s growth in the lifestyle area.

First C-PACE financing in Washington: King County, Daniels Real Estate and Petros PACE Finance, the leading provider of Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE), have closed a US$19 million transaction providing low-cost funding for key improvements at the Lodge at St. Edward State Park in Kenmore, Washington, near Seattle. This was the first C-PACE financing in Washington. The 84-key Lodge at St. Edward State Park offers a spa, bars and restaurant, meeting and event spaces amid a 326-acre forest. The former seminary building had been lying idle for more than 40 years and approximately US$15 million would be required to keep it from falling in on itself. The C-PACE financing will be used for energy-related improvements, updated HVAC systems and preserve the historic building.

Expedia, IHG enter preferred partnership: Expedia Group and IHG Hotels & Resorts announced that Expedia Group is now a preferred redistributor of IHG Hotels & Resort properties’ wholesale rates through Expedia Group’s Optimized Distribution Preferred program. The Optimized Distribution Preferred program creates primary gateway solutions for hoteliers and their B2B demand partners, reducing costs, generating incremental revenue for hotels and creating accurate content and better rates for travelers. IHG will leverage Expedia’s platform to consolidate and simplify its wholesale distribution.