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PHILADELPHIA-Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. plans to develop a 136-room Aloft brand hotel near the Philadelphia International Airport. Aloft is the White Plains-based company’s newly unveiled brand, described as a “lifestyle” hotel concept that shares “the DNA” of its W luxury brand, but with lower-priced room rates.

A Starwood representative declines to disclose any budget information. According to public records, Starwood Philadelphia Airport Realty II LP acquired the 91,476-sf vacant parcel at 4301 Island Ave. in April 2006 for $10. The 2007 assessed value, according to the records, is $720,300. The seller is not identified. According to published reports, a 136-room Aloft near the University of Arizona in Tucson is estimated to cost between $12 million and $15 million.

Aloft Philadelphia Airport will be Pennsylvania’s first Aloft hotel. It will be company-owned and is scheduled to open in summer 2008. The representative tells GlobeSt.com, “a development deal for Harrisburg has not yet been announced, but Harrisburg is one of the 50 locations Aloft Hotels has confirmed development in.”

In a statement announcing plans for Aloft, Starwood says it plans a total of 500 Alofts in the US and abroad by 2012. As GlobeSt.com previously reported, a 150-unit Aloft is planned for Mount Laurel, NJ, and it is being developed by Grande Properties LLC, a subsidiary of Mount Laurel-based Delco Development.

The Aloft Philadelphia Airport will be the second Starwood asset here. As GlobeSt.com previously reported, the hotelier is partnering in development of a $150-million W Philadelphia Hotel & Residences at 12th and Arch streets. The development partners are locally based Parkway Corp. and New York City-based Urban Residential.

The representative says, “Aloft hotels are designed to provide a sassy, refreshing alternative to brands like Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Garden Inn and will compete head to head in each market with these brands.” Rooms in Aloft will have nine-foot ceilings in a loft-like ambiance, and properties will have a high-tech office/entertainment center with wireless internet access and plug-and-play connectivity to PDAs, cell phones, Mp3 players and laptops. “We’re excited to bring a fun new way to play and stay in the city of brotherly love,” says Ross Klein, president of Starwood Luxury Brand Group, in a statement.

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