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PLANO, TX-Atlanta-based NYLO Hotels has broken ground on its first lifestyle hotel, a 176-room property within the 2,665-acre Legacy master-planned community, 18 miles north of Downtown Dallas. NYLO’s partner is Merrill Lynch Capital which is providing undisclosed construction debt financing for the project.

The developer didn’t disclose the development cost or the hard construction cost in a prepared statement. However, area construction sources familiar with comparable projects elsewhere tell GlobeSt.com the Plano project couldn’t be built for less than $200,000 per room or a total estimated cost of $35.2 million. The hotel is expected to open in late 2007.

“The success of a new hotel brand hinges on finding a financial partner that shares your vision and understands your model,” says NYLO Hotels CEO John Russell. Merrill Lynch Capital is also providing funds for the second-quarter 2007 ground-breaking of a similar loft-style NYLO hotel in Warwick, TX.

Russell says his company plans to partner with New York City-based Lehman Brothers in opening 50 hotels in fast-growing suburban and secondary markets throughout North America by 2010. NYLO’s franchising campaign is scheduled to begin in late 2007.

NYLO’s Plano hotel is being built at the northwest corner of Headquarters Drive and Preston Road, a site that was once a stop for the legendary Pony Express, says Mueller. The bustling hub is near the Dallas Tollway, Highway 121, the Stonebriar Mall, the Shops at Legacy and Dr. Pepper Ballpark and StarCenter, all commercial landmark locations in metro Dallas. The Legacy development is also home to regional and national headquarter offices of numerous Fortune 500 companies, including EDS, Frito-Lay, JCPenney, Cingular Wireless, McAfee and Intuit.

Michael Mueller, president and chief development officer at NYLO Hotels, says the Plano project will set the standard for his company’s lifestyle brands. “Mixed-use developers and land owners recognize the added value a lifestyle hotel like NYLO brings to their property,” he says. “They appreciate that when they work with NYLO, they deal directly with the principals, who are also the owner, operator and developer of NYLO hotels.”

As an example of the company’s innovative development plans, Mueller points out NYLO Plano will have a ‘Pure Floor’ that may be the first of its kind in the hospitality industry. The floor will offer 44 allergy-friendly guest lofts. “These rooms will use a comprehensive purification system, including medical-grade air purifiers and hypo-allergenic linens and covers,” the NYLO Hotels president says.

Lyda Swinerton of San Antonio is the project’s general contractor. Stephane Dupoux, a designer of high-end nightclubs and restaurants in New York, Miami and London, is the design consultant for the hotel.

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