News in brief: Starwood, AmEx, HEI

Westin to expand in Texas:  Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide announced on Thursday that it signed an agreement with White Lodging Services Corp. to open the 326-room The Westin Austin Downtown in spring 2015.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman


AmEx announces travel layoffs:  American Express announced that it will cut 5,400 jobs primarily in its travel services.

Read more at Bloomberg


HEI buys Dallas hotel:  HEI Hotels & Resorts announced that it bought the 170-room Luxe Stoneleigh Hotel & Spa, which it will reflag under Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide’s Le Méridien brand.

Read more at The Dallas Morning News


Novotel to expand in Saudi Arabia:  Accor signed a deal to open the 143-room Novotel Jeddah.

Read more at MENA FM


Commercial real estate transactions up:  Global real estate investment volumes in the fourth quarter of 2012 rallied, with US$141 billion transacted over the quarter to lift the year’s total preliminary volume to US$436 billion, according to Jones Lang LaSalle.

Read more at Jones Lang LaSalle


2 Scotland airport hotels announced:  ABZ Development has submitted plans to build two 140-room Novotel-branded and 112-room Ibis-branded hotels adjacent to Aberdeen International Airport.

Read more at BBC News


Hard Rock joins fray for Massachusetts development:  Hard Rock International submitted an application and a $400,000 non-refundable application fee to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission for the development of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino New England, to be located in West Springfield.