Hilton Scottsdale Resort sold - East Valley Tribune: Business

Hilton Scottsdale Resort sold

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Posted: Tuesday, July 18, 2006 6:18 am | Updated: 5:02 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

The Hilton Scottsdale Resort is losing its famous parent, but gaining a $10 million upgrade and a local sibling.

Cranston, R.I.-based hotel owner-operator The Procaccianti Group said Monday it bought the 185-room, fourdiamond inn from entertainment mogul Merv Griffin and will spend as much as $10 million to spruce it up.

The Procaccianti Group already owns the Doubletree Paradise Valley Resort, a mile south of the Hilton.

Neither Procaccianti nor The Griffin Group would reveal the purchase price.

Griffin — singer, songwriter, talk show host, producer and game show guru — was not trying to shed the Scottsdale property, but the buyers sought him out, his assistant Marcia Newberger said Monday.

“Like every asset, he’s enjoyed owning it,” she said.

It was the last of Griffin’s U.S. hotels. He still has a property in Ireland, Newberger said.

The show business legend previously owned another Arizona hotel — Wickenburg Inn, which he donated to Scottsdale-based Childhelp in 2000 as a residential treatment center for abused children.

The Procaccianti Group, which owns and operates 43 hotels with a combined 11,217 guest rooms nationwide, was looking for another Scottsdale area property to add to its portfolio, said Ralph Izzi, company spokesman.

“As a national hotel company, we look for key indicators,” Izzi said. “Scottsdale is a great market and the Doubletree (Paradise Valley) is a good performer for us.”

The company is assessing the Hilton’s needs and will devise an enhancement plan, he said. That may include fixing up the 45 currently closed villas, he said.

It definitely will include changing the name of Griff’s Cafe and Charlie’s, the pool bar named for the former owner’s Shar Pei dog. Izzi said part of the deal included removing Griffin’s name from the property and handing back any of his personal possessions and papers still in the hotel.

That likely includes the vintage set from Griffin’s TV talk show that once graced the Scottsdale hotel’s lobby but was relegated to storage after a massive $18 million makeover in 2000.

“He’s probably taking his sofa with him,” Izzi said.

Griffin purchased the Hilton in 1999 and completed two renovations that added a 10,000-square foot ballroom and changed every aspect of the hotel’s decor inside and out.

The entertainer personally selected all the design and decor from the copper and stone walls to the lobby furniture fabric. Besides renaming the coffee shop and pool bar, Griffin also added a Paul Fleming’s Steakhouse.

The Hilton Scottsdale is one of several local hotels recently sold.

The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort has changed hands twice this year, the Westin Kierland Resort and Mondrian have new owners, and the Pointe South Mountain Resort in Ahwatukee has a potential deal on the table.

It’s not surprising, said hotel industry consultant Bob Hayward of Warnick & Co.

“We have an extremely strong market and evidence that it will continue for the foreseeable future,” Hayward said. “Investors want to be in this marketplace. Hoteliers want to be in this marketplace.” Hayward said while national lodging industry leaders want a spot in the Valley’s upscale hotel corridor, there are few places left to build new properties. And with construction costs high, buying is an appealing opportunity, he said.

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