For the first half of the this year, the downtown had anoccupancy rate of 72.9%, up from 63.8% in the first half of 1999,according to the PKF Consulting firm, in a midyear report. Thestrength of the downtown hotel market has been noticed bydevelopers. A number of hotels are being built downtown, includinga 114-room Holiday Inn Express, 191-room Courtyard by Marriott,171-room Residence Inn and 250-room Crowne Plaza.

The opening of the Enron Field baseball stadium in downtown hasadded to the strength of the downtown market, says John Keeling ofPKF Consulting. At midyear, the citywide hotel occupancy rate inHouston was 66.6%, up from 63.8% in the first half of 1999.

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