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(Crystal Proenza is associate editor of Real Estate Florida.)

SARASOTA, FL-Columbus, OH-based RockBridge Capital LLC has invested $14.2 million in the development of a 114-room Hyatt Place at 960 University Parkway. Chris Diffley, vice president of the firm’s investment group, says the first mortgage provides 80% of the capitalization of the project being developed by Naples-based White’s Lodging. Construction costs for the hotel are $9.5 million, with a total project cost of approximately $15 million, according to Tom White, co-founder of White’s Lodging.

RockBridge decided to invest for three reasons, Diffley tells GlobeSt.com, including the historical strength of the Sarasota market. “Above that, the hotel development site has an excellent location directly across from the main entrance to Sarasota International Airport and is in close proximity to the beaches, with convenient access to Downtown for business travelers as well.”

Diffley adds that RockBridge likes the Hyatt Place brand, which is designed as the next generation concept of hotels for the contemporary multitasking traveler. “This will be one of the first ground-up developments of a new Hyatt Place,” he says, rather than a conversion from an existing AmeriSuites, a brand that Global Hyatt Corp. acquired in 2005 and is revamping into the new chain.

The Sarasota Hyatt Place will offer amenities such as the Hyatt Grand Bed, a living room with large sectional sofa and ottoman, work area integrated with a 42-inch plasma television and complimentary high-speed Internet access. White’s Lodging will complete construction of the hotel at the end of this year, ahead of schedule, says Diffley. The hospitality company, which also currently owns and operates a Hawthorn Suites in Naples, will manage the hotel.

“We think Hyatt Place is an innovative brand with a great reputation for guest services,” says White. “It was named the top mid-scale full service brand by JD Power and Associates.”

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