La Quinta hotels to be acquired in nearly $2B deal

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 10:26 AM

Wyndham Hotel Group
Wyndham Hotel Group

Wyndham Worldwide Corp. and La Quinta Holdings Inc. said Thursday they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Wyndham will acquire La Quinta’s hotel franchise and hotel management businesses for $1.95 billion cash.

There is a La Quinta Inn & Suites in Tipp City and another in Fairborn. A Wingate by Wyndham is also located in Fairborn, while a Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham is located at 7070 Poe Ave. There are also a number of other area inns and hotels under the Wyndham umbrella.

The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018, the companies said in a release.

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Under the terms of the agreement, stockholders of La Quinta will receive $8.40 per share in cash (about $1 billion), and Wyndham Worldwide will repay approximately $715 million of La Quinta debt net of cash and set aside a reserve of $240 million for estimated taxes expected to be owed in connection with the taxable spin-off of La Quinta’s real estate assets.

Wyndham describes its hotel group as “the world’s largest and most diverse hotel business based on number of properties.”

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“With the acquisition of La Quinta’s asset-light, fee-for-service business consisting of nearly 900 managed and franchised hotels, Wyndham Hotel Group will span 21 brands and over 9,000 hotels across more than 75 countries,” the company said.

“La Quinta will immediately become one of our flagship brands,” Geoff Ballotti, president and chief executive of Wyndham Hotel Group, said in the company’s announcement. “It is an exceptionally strong brand that is led by service-minded associates who deliver some of the highest customer engagement levels in our industry.”

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The transaction will close after the planned spin-off of La Quinta’s real estate assets.

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Millions approved for U.S. 35 work: What we know now

Published: Thursday, January 25, 2018 @ 9:28 AM
Updated: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 4:52 PM

U.S. 35 getting new lane eastbound from Dayton to I-675 in a couple of years

It appears that a new lane along U.S. 35 from Dayton to Interstate 675, as well as the building of a more easily flowing “super street” on 35 in Greene County, are on a fast track to development.

A key state committee yesterday approved state funding for the work in Montgomery County, adding a lane on 35 from Steve Whalen Boulevard to I-675.

The TRAC — the state Transportation Review Advisory Council — also re-confirmed an earlier vote approving a “super street” in Greene County, a project that will entail a new U.S. 35 interchange at North Valley and Trebein roads.

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Chris Kershner, executive vice president at the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce and one of nine TRAC members, said the work in both counties is “essential for the east-west movement of goods and commuting for our region.”

“These projects have been on our priority list for a long time,” Kershner said Thursday.

“It’s a very good thing that funding was approved for those,” said Steve Stanley, executive director for the Montgomery County Transportation Improvement District.

The Eastern edges of the Dayton area have been growing for years, drawn by Wright-Patterson Air Force Base — which remains Ohio’s largest single-site employer, with an estimated 27,000 military and civilian employees — and Wright State University, along with businesses that serve them both.

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The Valley-Trebein work is a separate allocation, a $2 million project. “That’s something that really needed to happen,” Kershner said.

Anyone who lives east of Beavercreek or travels through it is familiar with the traffic problems on 35, particularly between North Fairfield Road and the Xenia bypass.

“It’s become gridlock, and that continual gridlock will make us unattractive for economic growth,” Kershner said. “So yesterday’s TRAC vote will solve that problem.”

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“The (TRAC) vote happened, and we’re on there (on the list of approved projects),” said Brian Martin, director of the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission. “I think it’s a big deal.”

Federal funds of $2.4 million will serve as the “local” match for the Montgomery County project, Martin said.

On a draft TRAC list, the “super street” in Greene County is listed for an allocation of $13 million total. 

Martin said that project will get a blend of local and federal funds — about $3 million in federal funds and $1.5 million expected in local funds, from the city of Beavercreek, as well as Greene County and Beavercreek Twp.

That project is committed to fiscal year 2019, Martin said.

Also on the TRAC draft list as a “Tier II project” is a plan to improve access to Dayton International Airport and U.S. 40 from I-70 westbound. That is identified as a total $11.9 million project.

Placement on the Tier II list means the project is not ready to move forward on construction. Stanley said the TID will request Tier I construction funds this calendar year.

“That just means we start the process of the ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation) considering” moving the project to the top tier, Stanley said. 

The idea of building a “super street” along U.S. 35 in Greene County — as a way to address congestion and accidents — has been eyed for years.

The plan will create U-turns instead of left-hand turns at the Orchard Lane and Factory Road intersections, which had 100 crashes over the last three years, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Transportation said in a local public meeting in November.

The project is estimated to cost $16 million to $17 million total, that spokesman said in November.

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#NationalChiliDay: These are the top 10 chili cities in the U.S.

Published: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 8:17 AM


            KARA DRISCOLL/STAFF
KARA DRISCOLL/STAFF

Where should you celebrate National Chili Day? Cincinnati, of course.

A study by one of the world’s largest chili purveyors shows that residents of cities across the country love this classic comfort food as much or more than their Long Star State counterparts.

The internal analysis, conducted by Wienerschnitzel in honor of National Chili Day on Feb. 22, named the Top 10 Chili Cities in the United States. Residents in these markets eat more chili per person than residents of other cities, have access to more restaurants known for their chili and are more likely to enter or attend a chili cook-off.

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The survey ranked Los Angeles atop the list, followed by Dallas; Phoenix; Houston; San Francisco/Oakland; Chicago; Baton Rouge, La.; Springfield, Mo.; Cincinnati; and San Antonio who is credited with first popularizing chili in the 1890s, rounded out the top 10.

“Despite being the official dish of Texas, chili has grown to become America’s dish,” said Doug Koegeboehn, chief marketing officer for Wienerschnitzel. “At Wienerschnitzel, we’ve known that for years. In fact, we’d like to think that there are really only two types of people in the world: chili lovers and those who still haven’t tasted really great chili yet.”

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Target launches new home decor brand

Published: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 2:44 PM


            CONTRIBUTED
CONTRIBUTED

Target has released a new home decor brand that features dozens of bold colors, prints and textures.

The chain’s newest home brand, Opalhouse, has more than 1,300 pieces of furniture for the home. The brand includes bedding, bath, décor, tabletop and furniture. Most pieces are priced under $30.

Target has launched several new brands in the past year, including Threshold brand to celebrate its original relaxed classic intent, followed by an approachable modern aesthetic with Project 62 and modern farmhouse aesthetic with Hearth & Hand with Magnolia.

Opalhouse will be available in all Target stores and on Target.com beginning April 8.

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Airport police dog gets protective vest

Published: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 2:07 PM

Gunner. CONTRIBUTED
Gunner. CONTRIBUTED

Dayton International Airport K-9 security dog Gunner received a new bullet-proof protective vest this week, courtesy of employees of Globe Food Equipment, Inc., a Moraine manufacturer.

Gunner, on duty since 2016, is a canine partner in a certified explosive detection team with Sgt. Ted Priest, the dog’s handler and partner, the city of Dayton said.

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The vest was acquired at a cost of $660 through the contributions of Globe Food Equipment employees. Ohio Law Enforcement K-9 Association/K-9 Vesting and First Aid was instrumental in matching Globe with the Dayton Airport K-9 Unit, the city also said.

Three officer/K-9 teams work at Dayton International Airport. In addition to security duties there, the canines are on call to assist with response to security threats in other local jurisdictions. The dogs complete 10 weeks of training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas before beginning active duty.

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Globe Food Equipment employees held fund-raising programs including a raffle and bake sale to pay for Gunner’s vest, the city said.

Globe employees have also raised funds and have ordered a vest for K-9 Fara. And at the time Globe employees undertook these fund-raising efforts, Kan, the newest K-9 officer to the Dayton International Airport, was not yet on board.

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