Hotel Indigo will build a five-story, 142-room location inCollege Park, GA, a suburb near Hartsfield-Jackson InternationalAirport, with an opening scheduled next spring. The College Parklocation, part of the new Princeton Village development at Harvardand Washington Streets, will join the hotel's original location inMidtown Atlanta and another in Downtown Atlanta.

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Jim Anhut, senior vice president of American franchisedevelopment for IHG, tells GlobeSt.com that Hotel Indigo seekslocations in what he calls "culturespheres" offering a mix ofliving and entertainment options. The chain's retail-inspiredconcept carries various touches such as murals and area rugs inguestrooms, along with seasonal decorations in common areas.

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"We feel very comfortable with the long-term potential and theunderlying consumer trends that justify Hotel Indigo in the firstplace," Anhut says. He points to the fact that IHG conducted up tothree years of market research before developing its first HotelIndigo.

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Three new Hotel Indigos opened during this year's first quarter,increasing the chain's capacity by 26% to nearly 400 rooms. Itslatest location opened earlier this month in Vernon Hills, IL, aChicago suburb, and future sites are planned for Miami, St. Louis,San Antonio, TX, Baltimore, Las Vegas and New York City.

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More than 60 hotels are now under development, with licensingagreements signed for six additional locations totaling 780 roomsthrough the first three months of this year. Anhut says he expectsthe chain to open between 25 and 30 hotels by the end of this year,though "we're not in a big hurry to plant flags."

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Furthermore, Hotel Indigo plans to open its first site outsidethe US this summer in a converted 64-room hotel in London'sPaddington area. The property was selected because of anundersupply of quality branded hotels in the area, yet is part of aplanned effort to expand the Hotel Indigo brand to other continentsbeyond North America, Anhut says.

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Anhut adds that IHG is not terribly concerned about attemptingan expansion of Hotel Indigo during an economic downturn, pointingto overall strong fundamentals within the US hotel industry. Henotes that it's important for the company not to flinch where itscommitments to franchises are concerned.

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"Needless to say, we're being watchful of the headlines, butthat has not slowed down the momentum of the brand," he says. "Youadjust in cycles like this, but you don't take your eye off thelong-term opportunity."

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