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Right Place, Right Time

McKibbon Creates New Entity Focused On Third-Party Development, Renovations

Monday, August 12, 2019
Dennis Nessler
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Looking to accelerate its growth and fully leverage its extensive development experience, long-time owner/operator McKibbon Hospitality recently unveiled a rebranding initiative that has netted a new company known as McKibbon Places.

McKibbon Places, which will be based in Alpharetta, GA, is focused on third-party development and renovation efforts and is being led by newly named President Erik Rowen.

Rowen--who has been with Tampa-based McKibbon Hospitality since 2003--explained the rationale behind creating a separate development arm and differentiating it from the management company.

“We’ve been developing hotels for ourselves for a very long time and we’ve gained so much experience in the industry with all the major brands and we’ve built our team and infrastructure. We thought it was right time to rebrand ourselves so that we could develop hotels for other owner groups that either don’t have the resources in house or in some cases don’t typically develop hotels,” he said.

Rowen further touted the company’s vast expertise and why he thinks McKibbon Places is a viable option for hospitality companies. “We’re owners and developers and we’ve got a very strong background in construction, architecture, and people on our team that come from a procurement background so we kind of touch on all these different areas. In addition to thinking like architects and contractors, we think like owners because we still develop hotels for ourselves so it’s kind of a unique perspective. We could sit down with owners and really be able to see where they’re coming from,” he said.

Rowen also offered some additional benefits of consolidating its renovation services into McKibbon Places, noting it “created some flexibility with our staff and it allows some synergies with purchasing and some of our brand relationships too.”

Rowen--who is a registered architect and joined the company as a project manager--has been in hotel development for more than 20 years and ultimately ascended to the position of vp, development for McKibbon. He has managed more than 35 new projects for a variety of hotel brands and believes he has been groomed for success in his new position.

“I’ve just been part of this process with the company for so long in so many different projects that they did a great job preparing me over the years for this. Over the years they’ve mentored me and really given me a lot of opportunity to grow within the company,” he said.

McKibbon Hospitality established its first hotel in 1946 has developed more than 60 properties in total. The company--which still owns 18 of the hotels in its current portfolio of 84 managed hotels--has typically been developing roughly three to four new builds a year, a number Rowen expects to increase.

“That will obviously grow with the opportunity to take on third-party development services and really that’s the whole idea of taking on these opportunities as they will help fuel the growth of the company,” he said.

McKibbon Places already has several projects in the development pipeline, including the Kimpton Hotel Arras in Asheville, NC, which is its first Kimpton flag and first independent boutique hotel. The mixed-use project includes 128 hotel rooms, 54 condos, two restaurants, retail space, and a parking deck and is expected next month.

The company will also break ground on two new McKibbon-owned developments in Florida later this year—the Hyatt House Tampa Airport Westshore, a six-floor, 145-room extended-stay hotel, and Hyatt House Orlando Airport, also a six-floor, extended-stay hotel with 156 rooms.

Rowen noted the company’s diverse skill sets open it up for a range of development possibilities. “We’ve got a pretty broad spectrum of experience and the type of project we want to take on,” he said.

According to Rowen, McKibbon Places currently includes nearly a dozen dedicated associates, but he expects that number to grow in the coming months and years to accommodate the anticipated growth.

“We want to be able to make sure we have the right capacity. Right now our numbers our perfect but we want to be able to grow the business to able to make sure we have controlled growth. We never want to take on more than we can handle,” he said.

Rowen concluded, “There’s a lot of opportunity out there where I think that we can have a real positive impact on projects and I’m looking forward to embarking on this journey.”

Dennis Nessler    Dennis Nessler
Hotel Interactive®, Inc.
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