Cambria Suites Continues Strategic Expansion Announces two more hotel franchise agreements in thriving markets

LOS ANGELES, May 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Cambria Suites, the stylish all-suite, all new construction hotel brand which is franchised by Choice Hotels International, Inc. (NYSE: CHH), one of the world's largest lodging companies, continues to attract demand from developers. Today, the upscale hotel brand announces two hotel franchise agreements in the rapidly expanding business communities of McAllen, Texas and West Fargo, North Dakota. 

In the booming Texas border town of McAllen, located just north of the thriving McAllen-Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ), Cambria Suites is working with highly regarded McAllen Strategic Group LLC and affiliates Hankin Enterprises and Fulcrum Management Corp as the official hotel of the city's $90 million, 85,000 square foot, world-class convention center and the market's most upscale lodging option. The Cambria Suites McAllen Convention Center will be a 121 suite, 4-story property which will also offer two banquet rooms and an executive conference room. The hotel will also feature a resort style pool, alfresco living room inspired decor, cabana lounge pods and a fire pit.

The West Fargo agreement is with highly respected KAJ Hospitality, which has corporate offices in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Mitchell, South Dakota and Wichita, Kansas, and will bring a stylish all-suites Cambria Suites brand hotel to North Dakota to service guests of the future conference center in the rapidly developing business community of West Fargo as well as other visitors to the area. The father and son development, ownership and management team of Kevin and Aaron Johnson will develop a four-story, 103 suite Cambria Suites hotel in West Fargo connected to the future 15,000 square foot conference center which KAJ Hospitality will also own and operate.

"Choice Hotels International is experiencing a lot of growth right now, especially in the upscale lodging segment. Cambria Suites is essential to our success in that space and it keeps on delivering for us," said Stephen P. Joyce, president and chief executive officer of Choice Hotels International. "We have been very strategically rolling out this brand, projecting growth and targeting prospering markets like McAllen and West Fargo. Teaming up with great developers as these only makes it easier."

"Cambria Suites is the perfect brand for these expanding markets," said Michael Murphy, senior vice president of upscale brands for Choice Hotels International. "We are seeing incredible growth in the Fargo, North Dakota and South Texas regions. Multi-national companies are expanding very fast in these cities, attracting business travelers and driving demand for a spacious, upscale lodging option where they can relax and remain productive on the road. We are working with developers who understand these markets as well as we do and Cambria Suites hits a sweet spot with these guests."

In 2012, U.S. Census Bureau rated McAllen one of the ten fastest growing cities in the United States, largely due to the McAllen FTZ. Bordering Mexico, the McAllen FTZ is one of the country's most active due to provisions under the North American Free Trade Agreement which offer tariff and tax relief and other cost-savings to businesses. This has attracted major global companies in recent years, transforming the McAllen metropolitan area into an international hub where multi-national companies have dedicated significant investment and resources. These organizations include: LG, Panasonic, Corning, Motorola and Black & Decker, to name a few.  U.S. Customs and Border Patrol McAllen Station also has a major presence attracting government employees and civilian contractors to support its mission overseeing operation of the FTZ and for patrolling 53 miles of the Rio Grande.

Conveniently located near McAllen International Airport, Cambria Suites McAllen Convention Center is situated in close proximity to major interstate highways and numerous international cross border bridges. The city leads the state of Texas in retail sales making it a major shopping and restaurant destination. Right next door, guests of Cambria Suites can enjoy the Simon Property Group's popular 350,000 square foot lifestyle retail center, Palms Crossing.  

"Our team couldn't be more enthusiastic about our affiliation with the remarkable Cambria Suites brand," said Christopher Haridopolos, principal of McAllen Strategic Group LLC. "We look forward to growing within the ever expanding Cambria Suites family."

With a population of more than 25,000, West Fargo is one of the fastest growing communities in North Dakota reporting a growth rate of 72.9% in 2012, according to the West Fargo Economic Development Committee. West Fargo is part of the larger Fargo/Moorhead MSA which has a population of 220,000 with an annual growth rate of 2.5%. The future KAJ Hospitality-developed conference center and connected Cambria Suites hotel are prime examples of this growth. Further, the new Sanford Health Medical Center, a $500 million, 371 bed state-of-the-art facility scheduled to open in 2016 will also be adjacent to the new hotel and conference center. Companies with a large or increasing presence nearby include Sanford Health, Titan Machinery, Bobcat, Cat Reman, Catholic Health Initiatives and Case New Holland.

"This is a very exciting and ambitious project for us and we know Cambria Suites is the perfect fit. We considered many brands but we felt best about working with Choice Hotels," said Aaron Johnson vice president and chief financial officer of KAJ Hospitality. "The support we have received from Choice Hotels and the Cambria Suites team has been nothing short of fantastic and we expect that relationship to only grow. The vision and strategy for the Cambria Suites brand falls right in line with our vision for KAJ Hospitality."

Typical to the Cambria Suites brand, the all-suite rooms are larger than standard offering travelers a spacious room to spread out overnight or over several nights. Designed to meet the needs of today's business travelers, these hotels provide separate areas for travelers to work and rest. Cambria Suites West Fargo is scheduled to begin construction in June 2013 and open in the second quarter of 2014. Cambria Suites McAllen Convention Center is expected to break ground in the third quarter of 2013.

These hotels will continue to deliver the consistently high level of style at an equally attractive price guests have come to count on with this brand. All Cambria Suites hotels are new-construction and the brand leads the rest of the upscale lodging segment in guest satisfaction scores as measured by guests' likelihood to recommend (LTR). As of today, many Cambria Suites hotels are ranked #1 and #2 in their respective markets on TripAdvisor.

"Word of mouth is king and Cambria Suites is leading the conversation," said Murphy. "We offer visitors a consistent, high quality guest experience and they are talking about it. This brand has truly tapped into what travelers today want and need while on the road – service without stuffiness, style that doesn't feel sterile and convenience that doesn't forego comfort."

Designed as a lifestyle hotel brand, Cambria Suites offers more than just a place to sleep at night. It features a larger lobby to give guests a more social atmosphere, spacious all-suite rooms that include separate areas to work and rest, providing business and leisure travelers room to relax, socialize and network.

All Cambria Suites hotels feature Reflect, a casual dining and gathering area serving a dinner menu, liquor, wine, beer, freshly prepared grab-and-go gourmet salads and sandwiches, a barista bar featuring Wolfgang Puck® coffee and a hot breakfast buffet; Refresh, a state-of-the-art fitness center with an elegant pool and hot tub/spa area; and Refill, a 24-7 convenience store that offers energy drinks, snacks and sundries.

In addition, each suite offers the latest technology, including two flat-screen LCD televisions and MediaHub™ plug-and-play technology, allowing guests to connect their laptop, MP3 player, game console, digital camera or CD/DVD player hassle-free. Free high-speed wired and wireless Internet access is available throughout the hotel so that guests can stay connected.

About Cambria Suites

Cambria Suites offers contemporary, upscale accommodations at affordable prices. Designed as a lifestyle hotel brand, Cambria Suites offers more than just a place to sleep at night. It features a larger lobby to give guests a more social atmosphere, all-suite rooms that are larger than standard hotel rooms and include a separate living, working and sleeping space, providing business and leisure travelers a haven to relax, socialize and network. As of March 31, 2013, there were 19 properties open across the country, representing nearly 2200 guest suites, and 26 properties in various stages of development, representing an additional 3700 guest suites.

About Choice Hotels

Choice Hotels International, Inc. franchises over 6,200 hotels, representing more than 500,000 rooms, in the United States and more than 30 other countries and territories.  As of March 31, 2013, 395 hotels, representing more than 30,000 rooms, were under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development in the United States.  Additionally, 81 hotels, representing approximately 7,000 rooms, were under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development in more than 20 other countries and territories. The company's Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, Econo Lodge and Rodeway Inn brands, as well as its Ascend Hotel Collection membership program, serve guests worldwide.                  

Additional corporate information may be found on the Choice Hotels International, Inc. website, which may be accessed at www.choicehotels.com.

About McAllen Strategic Group

McAllen Strategic Group (MSG) through its affiliates Hankin Enterprises and Fulcrum Management is a broad based real estate and business development firm. MSG's depth and diversity is evidenced by the firm's work involving government, institutional, high-rise residential and commercial, mixed-use, and hospitality projects. Reflecting overall development commitments in excess of ¾ billion dollars and almost 4 million square feet of space throughout a dozen states, MSG commits the highest level of quality in managing the design, construction and management of each its project. MSG takes a comprehensive approach to development, concerning everything from land acquisition, entitlements to forecasting and infrastructure improvements, from design and construction management to creating the optimum environment for living, working and enjoyment. MSG is extremely proud of its affiliation with Choice Hotels International and enthusiastic to celebrate the announcement of its newest project, the much anticipated Cambria Suites McAllen Convention Center hotel project in McAllen,Texas. More information can be accessed at www.fulcrummanagement.com.

About KAJ Hospitality

Founded in 1993 by President and CEO Kevin Johnson; family owned KAJ Hospitality has transformed from a single hotel company in South Dakota into a multi-unit hospitality development and management company throughout the Midwest. KAJ's current footprint includes hotels already owned and projects in planning or under development in Fargo, ND, Sioux Falls, SD, Omaha, NE & Wichita, KS.  KAJ is keenly focused on development and management in the select service and upscale segments of the hotel industry. Over the course of the past year KAJ has made a concerted effort to move into these segments and cluster our properties together in the same markets to maximize efficiencies and economies of scale. For more information go to www.kajhospitality.com.

Choice Hotels, Choice Hotels International, Choice Privileges, Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, Econo Lodge, Rodeway Inn and Ascend Hotel Collection are proprietary trademarks and service marks of Choice Hotels International.

(c) 2013 Choice Hotels International, Inc.  All rights reserved.

SOURCE Choice Hotels International, Inc.



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