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CHICAGO-WexTrust Capital LLC, based here, has formed a subsidiary called Axela Hospitality LLC for the development and acquisition of hotels. Axela will be led by Elmer Coppoolse, who will be the CEO. Coppoolse was previously the CEO and founder of EMCO Hospitality Inc., based in Bethesda, MD.

WexTrust had owned the Park View, a 200-room boutique hotel in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. After their experience with the Park View, WexTrust decided to enter the hotel market with the Axela subsidiary, Coppoolse says. “That was their only hotel and they decided that they liked that particular market,” he says. Coppoolse and WexTrust CEO Steve Byers have known each other for more than 12 years and decided to team up to form the subsidiary, Coppoolse says.

Axela is currently under contract to buy the 160-room Wyndham Drake, at 2301 York Rd., Oak Brook. “The Drake has a real emotional tie with a lot of the residents of that area,” Coppoolse says. The contract price was not disclosed. The subsidiary expects to close on the property in the middle of December. “It is a bit early to comment on because we have not closed on the hotel, but we see a definite position in the market for a luxury boutique hotel,” Coppoolse tells GlobeSt.com. Axela plans for “a complete refurbishment of the existing hotel,” an addition of 20 rooms, more meeting space and a restaurant.

The 250-room Crowne Plaza Hotel in Phoenix, which was recently acquired by WexTrust for $24 million, will also be part of Axela’s portfolio. “We would like to grow pretty rapidly,” Coppoolse says. “For 2008, we see ourselves adding maybe about eight properties.” The subsidiary will also manage the hotels in EMCO’s portfolio, which includes the 210-room Resort at Glade Springs in West Virginia and the 100-room Netherlands Inn and Spa in Lancaster, PA. Additionally, Axela has plans to develop select service hotels “in strong major urban and suburban areas,” such as Phoenix, Chicago and the Nashville area, Coppoolse says. “We are actively looking in Washington, DC and we hope that we may be able to announce something in 2008,” he tells GlobeSt.com.

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