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HOUSTON-Dow Hotel Co. has finished its second renovation within the past year on the 420-room Sheraton Hotel North Houston. While the first renovation, completed in mid-2008, had been accomplished to freshen up the property, the second $8-million fix-up effort, launched in November of last year, was to repair damage caused by Hurricane Ike.

Randall King, vice president of marketing and revenue development for Dow Hotel Co. says the hurricane damage on the hotel at 15700 John F. Kennedy Blvd. consisted of a collapsed roof, water-soaked carpeting and walls in the lobby, and a destroyed glass atrium. But the Seattle, WA-based hotel management company was fortunate in that the guest rooms came through the storm in good shape. Furthermore, designers and factories that had issued the original carpet, vinyl and wall paper for the summer 2008 renovation still had the designs and materials on hand.

“They were fast, and they cooperated in getting the material run off immediately,” King tells GlobeSt.com. “Materials started coming in during late November, we began the renovation in December, and just finished it.”

One major change that was made the second time around was the conversion of a fixed-seated amphitheater into the 3,600-square-foot Stephen F. Austin Ballroom, which is the hotel’s second-largest meeting space. King says the amphitheater represented wasted space, as people don’t use fixed-seat auditoriums these days.

Another addition from renovation number two is a coffee kiosk in the lobby. The lobby itself is the first in Texas to be a Link @ Sheraton-designed lobby, which offers high-speed Internet and free television. The coffee kiosk gives guests a chance to grab a cup of coffee and a Danish before heading out to whatever meeting or function they have, King says.

Though King jokes about the call that came at around 3 a.m. the morning Ike came ashore and caused the damage and flooding, repairs were done quickly, with everyone cooperating. “A lot of good things did come out of it,” he adds. “We got the lobby renovated, the coffee station and the ballroom.”

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