Hampton to take bite of Big Apple

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NEW YORK -- Business travelers soon will have four more hotels to choose from in the Big Apple.

Hampton Inn, the brand of midprice hotels located primarily in suburban and roadside locations, plans a major push into New York, where it will open four hotels by 2004.

Each of the hotels will be new builds, and Hampton put the total price tag at more than $120 million. All will be franchises.

A 144-room Hampton Inn is scheduled to open by October at 108 W. 24th St. between Sixth and Seventh avenues, and a 65-room hotel is scheduled to open by December at 320 Pearl St. near the South Street Seaport.

Future properties include a 136-room hotel scheduled to open at 116 W. 31st St. near Herald Square by spring 2003, and a 220-room hotel scheduled to open in 2004 across from La Guardia Airport in Queens.

A 216-room Hampton Inn opened earlier this year near Kennedy Airport.

Neil Shah, director of development for New Cumberland, Pa.-based Hersha Group -- which will build the three Manhattan hotels -- said Hampton's move into New York is part of its strategy to grow in urban markets in response to demand.

"We see tremendous demand for quality, branded, midprice hotels in urban markets, especially in Manhattan, which is severely underserved in this segment," Shah said.

Hampton properties typically charge up to $100 per night, depending on location, but New York prices are expected to be at least double that because of the high cost of land and construction. Rooms at the Hampton Inn at Kennedy Airport cost up to $130 weekdays.

Still, those rates are well below the average daily room rate here, which is around $181, according to PKF Consulting.

Hampton's customer base is divided evenly between business and leisure travelers.

For information, call (800) HAMPTON or visit www.hamptoninn.com on line.

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