RLJ Lodging Trust (the “Company”) (NYSE: RLJ) today announced that it has opened its Hotel Indigo New Orleans Garden District (the “Hotel”). With the opening of this hotel, the Company has completed its seventh and final brand conversion that was planned as part of its comprehensive 2011 and 2012 capital program.
“We are excited to open a uniquely designed upscale hotel in New Orleans, a dynamic urban market with multiple demand generators,” said Thomas J. Baltimore, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer. “We expect the Hotel to benefit from the positive trends that we are seeing from the New Orleans market as well as benefit from the positive traction the Indigo brand is making in increasing its brand distribution.”
The Hotel operated as an independent hotel until it was closed in 2008. The Company purchased the distressed hotel in 2010 for $6.4 million. After an extensive $16.9 million renovation, the property reopened as a 132-room Hotel Indigo. The all-in price of $23.3 million, or approximately $177,000 per key, represents a significant discount to replacement cost.
“This hotel’s uniquely modern design truly captures New Orleans’ character,” said Carl Mayfield, Senior Vice President of Design and Construction. “The oversized guestrooms and spacious bathrooms combined with the stylish public space design truly highlight New Orleans’ Historic Garden District. The many facets of this hotel’s unique design include locally inspired murals, decorative ironwork, and reclaimed wood ceiling resonate New Orleans and its local culture and flavor.”New Orleans, known as the birthplace of jazz, features a variety of entertainment venues and activities in the city. One of the main attractions is the French Quarter, the oldest neighborhood in the city featuring a mixture of Spanish, French, Creole and American architecture. The city also hosts a variety of special events each year; the most famous event is Mardi Gras which includes musical celebrations, a grand parade, and other entertainment throughout the city. In addition to the various tourist attractions, the area’s location near the Gulf of Mexico and the large contingency of offshore oil rigs allow New Orleans to host a strong corporate base for on and offshore petroleum and natural gas production. New Orleans’ diverse economy in oil refining, port activity, and tourism provides multiple demand generators for the market.