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[IMGCAP(1)]ATLANTA-Locally based NYLO Hotels LLC has plans to pursue an aggressive growth plan, seeking to have 50 franchised branded hotels open or out of the ground by early 2011. Charles Armstrong, a 15-year hotel industry veteran, has joined NYLO as senior vice president of franchise development to lead the company’s expansion.

“[Armstrong] and I worked together at Cendant Corp. (now Wyndham Worldwide) when he ran franchise sales for the company’s Wingate brand,” NYLO CEO John Russell tells GlobeSt.com. “I’ve known him since 1991. He’s got the depth of experience we need to aggressively grow our brand in the US, with a strong portfolio of relationships.”

Previously, Armstrong served as Southeast regional vice president of development for Hyatt Select Hotels Group, where he helped launch the Hyatt Place and Hyatt Summerfield Suites brands. Before that, he led national franchise development for Hawthorn Suites for Atlanta-based US Franchise Systems and was vice president of franchise development for Candlewood Hotel Co.

[IMGCAP(2)]“My goal is always to put the right developer in the right market with the right expectation for performance and return on investment,” Armstrong explained in a released statement. “As developer, owner and operator of its first hotels, NYLO knows the development costs.”

The company is looking to expand into secondary and tertiary markets such as Alpharetta, GA; Duluth, GA; or Tampa, FL, says Russell. “We look for an area that has about a million-and-a-half sf of office space, a lifestyle community where there is high-end residential, a high-end mall area and an airport location that’s got demand generators,” he says.

The brand includes two franchise opportunities, NYLO and XP by NYLO. NYLO is a full service, four-star boutique, loft-style hotel brand, with the first opening in December 2007 in Plano, TX, a suburb of Dallas. NYLO Providence/Warwick, RI, is scheduled to open in two weeks. Three more locations in Las Colinas, TX; Broomfield, CO; and Kansas City, MO are scheduled to open next year.

Each of the buildings are designed with red brick, large glass windows, with exposed concrete and brick interiors. All sleeping rooms have over 10-foot-high ceilings, says Russell, with amenities such as meeting rooms and fitness centers with spas. Each of the hotels includes a Loft section consisting of a 24-hour restaurant/bar, game room and library, all designed to reflect its specific location. For example, in Providence the room has a nautical theme, while those in Texas have cowhide carpets and chandeliers with antlers.

The XP by NYLO brand offers select service, three star, loft-style accommodations, with the lobby as a focal point. The average size of the brand will be about 127 rooms with limited amenities including a meeting room and fitness center. The price point at XP is around $90 to $115 per night, while NYLO will run from $120 to $240. An XP is currently under development in the Raleigh/Durham Airport area, and another at an undisclosed location is planned, but still under negotiation, says Russell. In total there are about 52 franchises in the pipeline, he reveals, confirming that the company is on target to meet its goal by 2011 and expand to an international market by next year.

When asked why the company chose the current downturn market as a time to expand, Russell says there’s always a silver lining in a black cloud. “People still want to build in secondary and tertiary markets, even though the financing is tighter and more restrictive,” he says. “We see this as a brand new product at a good price point that’s very competitive to build. With slowed building, access to getting good contractors and fairly decent pricing on materials and equipment is all out there.”

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