|By Karen Robinson-Jacobs, The Dallas
Morning NewsMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
October 01, 2010 --The Marriott brand gets a new presence downtown today when it takes over management of the former Westin City Center.
Set at the edge of the Dallas Arts District, the 407-room hotel gives Marriott the kind of central city perch it sought when it bid against Irving-based Omni to run the new Dallas Convention Center hotel.
The rebadged Marriott City Center at 650 N. Pearl St. is part of the Plaza of the Americas complex, which has a 15-story atrium and indoor ice skating rink.
"Dallas is a very vibrant city," said Marriott spokeswoman Laurie Goldstein. "It's a great addition to our portfolio."
The hotel will undergo an extensive renovation over the next year, with a complete remodeling of guest rooms, creation of a state-of-the-art fitness facility overlooking downtown and upgrades to the restaurant and lobby, Marriott said.
No price tag was given.
The hotel's new general manager, Nour Laasri, comes to the property from the Dallas/Fort Worth Solana Marriott.
Andrew Pena will serve as director of sales and marketing, the post he held at the Westin.
For days, the website for the Westin said it was "leaving [the] chain on Sept. 30." Marriott was widely rumored to be the successor but previously had declined to comment.
Goldstein said the change isn't official until today.
The hotel had been a Westin since 2003, owned by LaSalle Hotel Properties, a Bethesda-based real estate investment trust, according to Pena.
It's now owned by Inland American Real Estate Trust Inc., an Oak Brook, Ill.-based real estate investment trust, and managed by Marriott International Inc. under a long-term deal.
Before joining Westin, the hotel was known as Le Meridien Hotel of Dallas.
Bethesda-based Marriott International also operates the Renaissance Dallas Hotel and the Dallas Marriott Suites Market Center, both on Stemmons Freeway near downtown, and the Ritz-Carlton in Uptown.
With more than 3,400 properties in 70 countries and territories, Marriott International posted fiscal 2009 sales of nearly $11 billion.
To see more of The Dallas Morning News, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.dallasnews.com.
Copyright (c) 2010, The Dallas Morning News
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For more information about the content services offered by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services (MCT), visit www.mctinfoservices.com, e-mail email@example.com, or call 866-280-5210 (outside the United States, call +1 312-222-4544). NYSE:MAR,