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ERBIL, IRAQ-As part of it’s expansion efforts, Turkey-based Divan Hotels plans to open a 5-star hotel here in the first half of 2011. The investment is valued at $90 million.

The Divan Erbil will contain 146 guestrooms, 76 suites, two presidential suites and four lofts. Additionally the 484,000-square-foot project will have six meeting rooms, a ballroom, fitness center, indoor pool, four restaurants and a night club. Thirteen offices and shops will also be offered for lease. The plot of land is owned by Elegan Tourism Inc. and the project will be funded by the company as well.

“We believe that an international-standard chain hotel will meet an unserved need in this market and for that reason we resolved to make this investment,” says Elegan chairman of the board Sarp Turanlıgil. “We feel that we are particularly lucky to be able to join a visionary Turkish hotel chain like Divan Hotels, especially in light of the growing role that Turkish companies and executives play in the local business community.”

In addition to the newly announced project, Divan will open three hotels in the first quarter of 2010. With the Divan Istanbul Asia, the Divan Çorlu and the Divan Ankara Çukurhan added to its books, the company will own a total of nine hotels.

“As a part of the expansion strategy that Divan initiated in 2005, we are continuing to pursue exciting city hotel projects in major cities in Turkey and within our strategic region,” says general manager Jeop Bakx, in a company release. “Our objective is to build Divan Hotels into a premium regional chain of city hotels, with properties in the key cities throughout our region. We decided to start by focusing our international expansion on untapped markets offering outstanding potential for economic and commercial growth.

Erbil appealed to Divan executives because the city seems poised for economic and cultural growth, housing two international airports, a university and a population of one million people.

“Our objective is to meet the region’s need for high quality accommodations and also to provide local residents with superior entertainment and dining,” Bakx says. “Building on Divan’s reputation as a visionary brand, we hope that our pioneering entry into this market will serve as an example for other international hoteliers.”

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