Officials of Benjamin West, the hotel industry’s leading global purchasing firm for furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E) and operating supplies and equipment (OS&E), today announced that the company has been selected to purchase the FF&E and OS&E for an expansive 26-hotel project currently under construction in Makkah (Mecca), Saudi Arabia. The FF&E and OS&E purchasing for the multi-billion dollar project, developed by Jabal Omar Development Company (JODC), will be coordinated by Benjamin West offices in Boulder, London and Hong Kong, supported by a local project office in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The first five hotels, a 637-room Conrad, a 797-room Hilton Convention Hotel, a 562-room Hilton Suites, a 744-room Hyatt Regency and a 455-room Marriott; 3,195 rooms in all, are expected to open in 2013.
The JODC complex will surround the Grand Mosque, the holiest site in Islam, and is believed to be the world’s largest, multi-hotel development. The project will feature 38 towers, including residential components, covering 1,950,000 square meters of floor space, including 58,000 square meters of prayer space, a retail concourse and a 2,000 seat conference hall.
The 26 hotels, comprising 11,535 keys with 40 food and beverage outlets, will showcase brands from 11 international hotel companies, including Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott.
“Our role has been to evaluate, recommend and negotiate the appropriate brands and operators for each hotel, as well as identify internationally acclaimed interior design firms, and other industry leading professional services,” said Abdul Suleman, president and CEO of San Francisco-based Equinox Hospitality (www.equinoxhotels.com), a global hotel acquisition, development, management and project consulting company. “When it came to purchasing FF&E and OS&E, we conducted an exhaustive selection process involving several of the most respected purchasing companies in the world. We recommended Benjamin West because they demonstrated that they have the size, global resources and proven procurement capability to successfully execute this massive project.”
“This hotel complex dwarfs any development I’ve heard of in my more than 25 years in the hospitality industry,” said Alan Benjamin, president of Benjamin West. “It will involve some 20 Benjamin West associates on four continents. Our London office, led by Daniel Englender, managing director, and our Jeddah project management office will help coordinate day-to-day local area needs in Saudi Arabia. Our Hong Kong team, led by Bill Cheung, managing director, will help supervise and coordinate the manufacturing of the FF&E produced in Asia. Our other offices will coordinate the sourcing of goods from around the world.
“Our Boulder office will handle the massive process of bidding, ordering, expediting and project accounting required to get some 10,000 different items specified, bid, manufactured and shipped. Our cloud-based RPM™ proprietary software program enables everyone involved with the project to share information, track pricing in multiple currencies, and provide the detailed supporting accounting and financial paperwork in real time, 24/7,” he said.
“We increased our staffing by 30 percent in the past 18 months to prepare for the significant renovations currently underway in 23 countries around the world. We already have the human resources and expertise on board to manage this development without disrupting our other projects and have capacity to add more,” Benjamin said. “Currently we are handling renovation and development projects involving more than 400 hotels and recently completed the purchasing for our 565th Marriott project. This additional volume strengthens our negotiating power and vendor relationships, and, coupled with our cloud-based project tracking system, will benefit all of our clients, whether they’re outfitting one hotel or an entire portfolio anywhere in the world.”
Benjamin noted that the purchasing firm’s knowledge of the brands involved in the complex and their respective brand standards will give the multiple design teams the maximum range of choices in products and manufacturing possibilities. “Cost analysis is critical for any project but especially one of this magnitude. It’s important to consider not only the initial price, but the item’s constructability and durability. There are always trade-offs between cost, lead time and durability for FF&E, but our knowledge and experience in working with the brands enables us to give the owners the maximum long-term value and lowest cost over the life of every single FF&E item.”
The scope of the JODC project is what sets it apart. More than 10,000 separate items will be sourced, purchased and shipped from approximately 15 countries in quantities from one-of-a-kind antiques to some 25,000 beds and 100,000 pillow cases.
The hotels will require more than 750,000 square meters of carpeting and some 1.4 million lineal meters of vinyl wall covering. When completed and fully operational, the JODC development will provide lodging for an estimated 60,000 people daily and some 15 million people annually.
Interior design services for the complex are being provided by such world-renowned firms as Wilson Associates, RTKL, Forrest Perkins, HBA, Leo A. Daly and BBGM.
About Benjamin West
In addition to their new office opening in Miami, Boulder, Colorado-headquartered Benjamin West also operates from offices in Chicago, Dallas, Hong Kong and London. The firm’s staff of more than 70 professionals ranks Benjamin West as the world’s largest hotel FF&E and OS&E procurement firm providing a full range of purchasing services, including budget development, specification review, technical analysis, bidding, expediting, and project accounting for hotels in the mid-market, upscale and luxury segments. Additional information about the company may be found at its Web site: www.benjaminwest.com.