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DALLAS-In a 30-day spin, Hilton Hotels Corp. has bested three other top-tier management companies to raise its flag for the first time since the early 1980s on a convention-style hotel in Downtown Dallas. The contract for the 1,606-room Anatole includes a $30-million renovation.

The Beverly Hills, CA-based hotel company will replace the Wyndham flag by mid-January on the 2201 N. Stemmons Freeway landmark, Sandi Denton, Hilton’s area vice president tells GlobeSt.com. The renovation, primarily aimed at redoing guest rooms and ballroom and event space, could get under way before the first quarter ends and will take two years to complete, she says. What won’t be changing is the staff, she says, adding “it’s a great team.”

According to Denton, Hilton was up against Host Marriott Corp. of Bethesda, MD, the White Plains-based Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. and locally based Omni Hotels Corp. for the contract courted by Anatole owner, Crow Holdings of Dallas. “It happened quickly,” she says. “The first I heard about it was 30 days ago.”

In recent months, the Wyndham brand was sold first to the New York City-headquartered Blackstone Group and then to Cendant Corp. Denton says those moves most likely played a significant role in Crow’s decision to change management companies.

For Hilton, the stakes were higher than just securing its first convention-type hotel in roughly two decades in Dallas. With similar properties in Houston and Austin, Hilton plans to cross-package conventions for organizations that prefer to rotate among the top three Texas cities, Denton points out. Plus, she says the hotelier expects to gain from being in the same city as the operations hub for Hilton Direct and Hilton Reservations Worldwide.

“It’s good for the City of Dallas and it’s good for the Anatole,” Denton says. The upcoming work has been gamed out, but no contracts awarded to date, she adds.

The Anatole was built in 1978 on 45 acres, with its tower going up in 1984. Denton says to her knowledge that the upcoming work doesn’t include any addition to the hotel complex nor room conversions into condo space. Some rooms and the atrium were renovated in recent years so Hilton’s plan focuses on the balance of the 1,606 rooms and 340,000 sf of meeting space. The facility also includes eight restaurants and bars, 10 boutique shops, 80,000-sf health club and business center.

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