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ALLEN, TX-Noted hotelier John Q. Hammons is pushing his investment in the Villages at Allen and Fairview to more than $100 million, getting rights to build a second hotel in the three-million-sf side-by-side projects. The newest agreement with Dallas developer MGHerring Group will put a 225-room, 10-story Courtyard by Marriott beside a $50-million event center.

On the Fairview side of the 400-acre mixed-use development, Hammons will build a 280-suite, 10-story Embassy Suites Hotel and 80,000-sf convention center. The hotels’ target markets vary, but the end result is the same for the emerging trade center at the intersection of Stacy Road and US Hwy.75. “Now, we’ve made it a destination not just for business travelers,” Gar Herring, president of MGHerring, stresses to GlobeSt.com, “but for people to come and spend the weekend and never have to leave the comfort of the project.”

L. Scott Tarwater, senior vice president of development for Springfield, MO-based John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts Inc., says the Fairview project is estimated to cost $60 million and Allen is at least a $40-million investment into MGHerring’s under-construction development, which is expected to add $1 billion of build-out value to the Collin County cities. The Courtyard announcement trails the Embassy’s by just four months.

Tarwater and Herring acknowledge that Hammons had the lead over other hoteliers for the second site since the onset. However, Herring says a third hotel site might one day be added to the plan. “We’ve had numerous other hotel chains approach us about doing additional hotels in both Allen and Fairview,” Herring says. “We did the deal with Hammons because they go above and beyond the flag when they develop.” The Courtyard project will include an atrium, water features and 20,000 sf of exhibition space in addition to the normal class A amenity package that goes along with the flag.

For now, the Courtyard will be freestanding on a five-acre tract, but Tarwater and Herring say talks are continuing over possibly adding a skybridge to connect the full-service hotel to the 7,500-seat event center planned by Phoenix-based Global Entertainment Corp. “If we can do it, we’d love to do it,” Tarwater says. The Courtyard will break ground before year’s end, with its opening slated for spring 2009.

Hammons’ MO is to build and long-term own his projects. The two new projects will take his Dallas/Fort Worth portfolio to more than 1,600 rooms and nearly 305,000 sf of meeting space. He’s managed to secure footing in suburbs with drawing power both near and far due to a broad-based spectrum of anchors, whether it’s retail, sports or the rodeo as in Mesquite. In a press release, Hammons credits his interest in Collin County to the metroplex’s “ongoing expansion to the north and east” and the synergies being created within MGHerring’s mixed-use developments and their neighbors.

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