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FT. WORTH-It’s not the best of times, but it’s also not the worst, says the owner of the Westin Beechwood, a 286-room luxury hotel opening today in grand fashion before a bevy of officials and well wishers.

David R. Farmer, senior vice president and CFO of Dallas-based owner Beechwood Co., says the strategy is in place to weather the hard times confronting the hospitality industry.”We’re obviously very concerned,” he tells GlobeSt.com. “I’d be less than honest if I didn’t say the industry wasn’t going through a shake-up.” But, the game plan is to court in-state business like it’s never been wooed before. Westin Beechwood’s advantage, he says, is that it’s resort caliber.

Farmer says the Beechwood and operator Starwood Westin’s team is cheering today’s opening and up to the hospitality industry’s challenge. He says only one of four conferences planned for the last quarter has begged off. And, that is just a postponement not a cancellation for Ft. Worth’s NAFTA Conference. A new date has yet to be scheduled. The 10 to 12 conferences already booked for 2002 are still a go, he says.

The strategy will be to go after in-state conference business, catering events, weddings and banquets until the hospitality market recovers from the economic setback that worsened with the Sept. 11 terrorists attacks in New York City and Washington, DC.Saturday, Denton County Judge Scott Armey, son of US Congressman Dick Armey, had the first event in the hotel as he tied the knot before a party of 500. And it’s just those kind of events that Beechwood’s marketing strategy will play up to until the industry rebounds.

Today’s launch includes Ft. Worth Mayor Kenneth Barr, State Sen. Jane Nelson and golf legend, Greg Norman. A charity golf tournament and gala benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Farmer says there’s “a big check” waiting for the beneficiary and it will be presented tonight. Corporate sponsors for tonight’s gala include the Rosewood Corp., First American Bank, Radio Shack, Reunion Title and Trammell Crow Co.

The hotel opening caps the second phase to Beechwood Business Park, a 902-acre development that has more than $100 million invested in infrastructure and amenities and neighbors the Texas Motor Speedway. The Westin Beechwood and the Norman-designed Creeks at Beechwood championship golf course are the centerpieces to developer Frank Harrison’s park located off Interstate 35W.

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