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Citing Concern For Guest And Employee Safety During Major Transformation Period, The Boca Raton Bridge Hotel To Close Beginning April 29th

Late Fall Re-Opening To Generate New and More Employment Opportunities

BOCA RATON, FL (March 7, 2013)– The Boca Raton Bridge Hotel, approved for a major transformation into luxury 4-star status, will close during renovation construction citing concerns for quality of guest comfort and service and the safety and health of employees and guests for the decision. According to Boca Raton Bridge Hotel General Manager Greg Kaylor, the hotel will close on April 29th, begin transformation in May, and remain closed until late fall upon completion of full renovation.  The preliminary phase of the Bridge Hotel’s major “reinvention” was launched in November 2012 with the construction of the hotel’s new “waterfront promenade” that flanks the property’s entire Lake Boca perimeter.
The Bridge Hotel remains one of Boca’s most notable, operating as a traditional hotel, as new ownership repositions and reinvents it to be more relevant and exciting to meet the desires and needs of today’s discerning vacationers as well as social and business guests. Led by a seasoned team of designers and hospitality, operations, management and marketing consultants, the hotel is being completely transformed into a premier South Florida experience with its own newly positioned distinctive signature in the destination.
“Over the last five months, our designers, consultants, contractors, ownership and management team have developed very exciting plans for the future of this hotel,” Lane Hospitality Chief Operating Officer Wayne West shared with hotel associates at a briefing on March 1.  “The scope of the plan is significant and the impacts of executing that plan are more comprehensive and integrated today than were originally contemplated. While we have explored many options relative to operating the hotel during the planned renovation period, we found that ceasing hotel operations for a period of time represents our best solution to renovating the physical structure without compromising our obligation to provide a safe and secure facility.”
Kaylor explained that it is not unusual for a boutique-sized hotel to close for a period of time when undergoing an extensive transformation such as what is planned for The Bridge Hotel that has long been in need of major structural and technical upgrading.
“The significant elevator and air-conditioning upgrading required to bring the hotel built in 1976 to current standards and the reorganization planned of public spaces during renovations would severely compromise our staff’s ability to service food and beverage in-room and restaurant operations as well as guest registration and housekeeping of guest accommodations,” explained Kaylor. “By closing for a period of time, and not working around each phase of the process, we are able to maintain a timeline in a safe environment to meet an anticipated late fall opening as Boca’s busy ‘season’ begins.”
He reported that only a minimal group of staff who will directly support the property’s day-to-day transformation process management will be on-site. Upon the completion of construction efforts, current employees may reapply for unfilled positions with business necessity, expertise, and past performance taken into account in making these decisions. He also noted that while the final staffing plan not yet determined, the new transformation plans will generate an increase in number of jobs available at the hotel at re-opening.
“In respect and appreciation of our staff members’ dedicated untiring loyalty through some long tumultuous financially challenged periods prior to new ownership, we have continually kept them informed though the transformation decision process,” said Kaylor. “Once the decision to close was made, we provided 60 days prior notice and are offering additional compensation for those who remain until the closing date.”
The hotel’s complete transformation will include the introduction of entirely new hospitality and dining concepts, further expansion waterfront amenities, and extensive reorientation and renovations of public spaces, guestrooms, and restaurants. Reinvention plans will take optimal advantage of the property’s most distinctive assets: its prime location — on the Intracoastal Waterway and Lake Boca with direct access to Atlantic Ocean — and its breathtaking water views.
“There are always certain spots in any city that really just have something unique going for them and this particular piece of property is one of those rare finds in our city where the entire public as they boat or drive or take walks can utilize the ambiance and see the beauty of the lake and the location,” noted City of Boca Raton Mayor Susan Whelchel at Boca Raton City Council meeting when approval was granted. “All of Boca will be very, very proud and happy when this particular property is renovated.  The beauty of the property is really something to behold.”
AWH Partners, LLC, identifies and acquires outstanding assets in key locations that require operational and physical repositioning to achieve their highest and best use. The Bridge is an established community icon in an enviable locale with a longtime history serving as the locals’ favorite “guesthouse” for visiting friends, family, and colleagues. The acquisition afforded the partnership the opportunity to return to South Florida to expand its presence add another “hotel repositioning success story” to its burgeoning portfolio. The Lane Organization LLC enters into cities to reposition assets and team up with management firms who can assimilate to their locations while standing out amongst the competition.  Lane Hospitality, the management firm for the Boca Raton Bridge Hotel and unrelated to the Lane Organization LLC, is committed to preserving, protecting and enhancing the value of hotel real estate, and provides expertise in all facets of hospitality management and brand marketing.
The Boca Raton Bridge Hotel, one of Palm Beach County’s boutique icon hotels with panoramic water views from every guest room, is located where the Intracoastal Waterway and Lake Boca Raton meet at 999 East Camino Real in Boca Raton. Hotel reservations are available until April 28th, visit www.bocaratonbridgehotel.com or call (561) 368-9500. For dining updates at WaterColors or reservations for Carmen’s award-winning Sunday Brunch, call (561) 886-4570 or visit www.opentable.com
About AWH Partners, LLC
AWH Partners, LLC, a joint venture between August Group Ventures, LLC and Winston Harton Holdings, LLC, offers an experienced institutional investment and management platform with dedicated capital. For more information, visit www.awhpartners.com.
About August Group Ventures, LLC
August Group Ventures is a privately held real estate investment, development and management firm founded in 2009 by New York-based Related Companies veteran Chad Cooley to pursue opportunities in the ailing hospitality market.  August Group owns and manages hotels around the United States and seeks opportunities to invest in and manage assets requiring capital, repositioning and turn-around expertise. For more information, visit www.augustgroupventures.com.
About Winston Harton Holdings, LLC
Winston Harton Holdings, LLC (WHH) was established by Russell Flicker and Jonathan Rosenfeld to acquire distressed, value-added and operationally intensive real estate assets through equity and debt. Its principals have extensive experience and complementary skill sets in the real estate sector, including acquisitions (private transactions and public securities), capital markets and asset management and asset repositioning. WHH will partner with both traditional institutional capital as well as private pools of capital to pursue transactions ranging from $10-$250mm.  For more information, visit www.whhllc.com.
About The Lane Organization LLC
The Lane Organization LLC (“Lane Organization”) was founded by Clifford P. Lane and his son Matthew in 2011. Focusing on luxury hotels, the Lane Organization enters into cities to reposition assets and team up with management firms who can assimilate to their locations while standing out amongst the competition. The Lane Organization emphasizes building strong partnerships while maintaining the company’s core ideas, beliefs, and values to ensure the success of all of its properties. For more information please visit www.thelaneorganization.com.
About Lane Hospitality
Lane Hospitality offers expertise in all facets of hospitality management and is committed to preserving, protecting and enhancing the value of hotel real estate. For more information, visit www.lanehospitality.com.
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