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LOS ANGELES–Hotel giant Marriott Corp. has announced plans to build an 80,000-sf extended-stay facility in Hawthorne–yet another indication of the strong lodging market here.

The Bethesda, MD-based hotelier awarded the $7.1-million construction contract to Irvine-based R.D. Olson, which has built several lodging facilities in the past. Plans call for a four-story, 144-room Townplace Suites hotel at 14000 Aviation Blvd. Completion is scheduled for next May.

Southern California’s long economic boom and a tremendous increase in tourism are pushing occupancies and daily rates higher at hotel and resort properties across the region, experts say. Investors in coastal-area projects, including the South Bay, have enjoyed some of the biggest gains.

“The hotel market today is probably the strongest it has been in several years, from Los Angeles down to San Diego and every market in-between,” Rod Apodaca of the Irvine office of investment brokers Sperry Van Ness tells GlobeSt.com.

According to the Los Angles Convention and Visitors Bureau, LA enjoyed 22.8 million overnight visitors in its 80,000 hotel rooms last year. That was second only to Las Vegas, which hosted 33.8 million visitors at its 125,000 rooms.

Higher occupancy rates have also prompted many owners of older developments to launch major renovation programs. In one of the more ambitious projects, TrizecHahn Development Corp. is spending $130 million to rehab the old Hollywood Holiday Inn at Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue. It will reopen the complex next fall as the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel, a 640-room facility operated by Marriott International’s Renaissance division.

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