White Lodging to sell off 82 hotel contracts

White Lodging developed the 34-story, blue glass JW Marriott hotel in downtown Indianapolis. The company is selling off management contracts to 82 suburban hotels.

Philip Potempa | The Times

White Lodging is selling off nearly half of its hotels under management.

The Merrillville-based hospitality company, which has a national profile, is selling 82 of its suburban hotel management contracts to Interstate Hotels and Resorts for an undisclosed sum. It is unloading a collection of Marriott, IHG, Hilton and Hyatt hotels, mostly between 100 and 200 rooms, that are scattered around the country "from Salt Lake City to West Palm Beach."

“This repositioning allows us to better focus on assets consistent with our market and development objectives while partnering with owners looking to grow with us," White Lodging Chairman and Founder Bruce White said. “We will use the net proceeds to continue to reinvest in strategic select and full service assets.”

With fewer hotels under management, White Lodging laid off some employees at its corporate headquarters in Merrillville.

"With our new streamlined portfolio, we unfortunately had to reduce a limited number of jobs in the home office," company spokeswoman Kathleen Sebastian said. The company did not disclose how many jobs were eliminated.

White Lodging will be left with 100 hotels under 26 different brands, 40 restaurants and eight rooftop bars, once current projects get completed. Its brands include Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Global, and InterContinental Hotel Group, and it also operates luxury ranches in Wyoming.

The company has opened seven hotels this year and plans to have 18 more hotels and restaurant/bar concepts all across the country open within the next 24 months.

“This transition is a major shift in our portfolio mix, allowing us the flexibility to capitalize on new opportunities that will strengthen the diversity of our national footprint,” said Deno Yiankes, President and CEO, Investments and Development.

The 82 hotels accounted for less than 25 percent of White Lodging's revenue. Most were not developed by White Lodging and only three are full-service hotels with restaurants and meeting space.

“The sale of these contracts will allow White Lodging to increase its focus on the disciplined execution of our key initiatives, the training and development of our associates and creating incremental value for our partners,” said Ken Barrett, President and CEO of White Lodging’s Hotel Management Division.

The sale is expected to close next year.

"We are still growing and developing all over the US," Sebastian said. "We do favor markets that we think have good growth potential such as Chicago, Indy, Louisville, Denver and Austin."

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Business reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.