Newly launched McKibbon Places targets third-party projects

Kimpton Hotel Arras in Asheville, NC

ATLANTA—McKibbon Hospitality’s family is growing. The hotel management, development and renovation company has launched a new company: McKibbon Places.

“We have been working on developing McKibbon Places for about 18 months,” said Erik Rowen, president of McKibbon Places. A registered architect, Rowen joined McKibbon in 2003 as a project manager and served as a VP of development for the company for many years.

“We have been developing new-build hotels for decades, but now have the ability to serve third-party owners. I felt it was critical to expand our infrastructure, fine-tune our processes and expand our staff to better optimize the services that we provide for our existing and new clients.”

Two brothers founded McKibbon Hospitality, based in Tampa, FL, in 1926. Now, it’s known for developing, owning, managing and renovating hotels in partnership with some of the largest hotel franchisors in the world.

Enter McKibbon Places, which is the hotel development and renovation services arm of McKibbon Hospitality. “We have been developing and renovating hotels for ourselves for a very long time, and we felt that it was the right time to share our experiences and resources with others,” Rowen said. “Though we still develop hotels for McKibbon with our current platform, we have the capacity to grow the company through third-party development and renovations.”

There are some major differences between the two companies, even though both businesses will work closely together going forward.

“McKibbon Hospitality focuses on hotel management for McKibbon-owned properties and third-party management for other ownership groups,” he said. “Both companies serve our McKibbon owners and investors as well as other third-party owners. Although we have a strong development pipeline of McKibbon-owned properties, we are also providing development services for other owners who do not have the resources internally or experience to develop them on their own.”

McKibbon engaged with an Atlanta-based branding agency to do an in-depth discovery process when developing the new company. The firm also assisted with creating a uniform company image.

“To build McKibbon Places, we set a foundation of best practices, which have proven to be successful and implemented these into our corporate structure, all while keeping our core values and overall vision at the forefront,” Rowen said. “Efficiency in our developing process is key to delivering the highest level of service to our customers to ensure utilization of all of the experience we have established over the years. Technology also has played a key role in building the infrastructure of the company as it relates to our project management tools.”

Both companies already have “incredible energy,” and he expects that will continue. “Many of us have worked together for more than 15 years,” Rowen said. “There are multiple perspectives that need to be addressed during the development process. In addition to profitability, guest experience and operational efficiency are key to making our projects successful. The McKibbon Hospitality team has a tremendous understanding of this, and we have partnered on countless successful projects together over the years. Both companies have significant resources and knowledge to offer one another and collaborating on the projects amplifies our ability to cater to a larger network.” 

McKibbon Places has about a dozen team members, and it’s continuing to expand. “We are always looking for strong, experienced talent,” he said. “Our organization is pretty flat. We pride ourselves on collaboration, though every project director has a great deal of autonomy. Internal communication is critical to ensure we capitalize on our collective experience.”

The company has a full development arsenal in-house, which has talent from various corners of the lodging industry, including construction, architecture, and procurement of furniture, fixtures and equipment.

“As we grow our scale, we create more buying power, leverage and synergy for all our projects,” he said. “It really creates a win-win for all our ownership groups. This is an ever-evolving industry that presents new trends from a sustainability and technology standpoint; our team is skilled at identifying these new trends and embracing techniques and resources that will make a positive impact on our environment and community.”

McKibbon’s client-centric philosophy shapes every McKibbon Places strategy, from designing guest experiences, to empowering operational excellence, to recognizing the true value of every investment. 

“The key to our success is to bring our client’s vision to life through our experience, perspective and industry relationships,” Rowen said. “As a company built by and for hotel owners, we understand firsthand the power of perspective. It grounds our philosophy and shapes every strategy, from designing guest experiences to empowering operation excellence to recognizing the true value of every single investment.”

McKibbon Places has 10 new-build hotel projects in different phases of development, including the Kimpton Hotel Arras in Asheville, NC, a McKibbon-owned asset, a mixed-use project that includes 128 hotel rooms, 54 condos, two restaurants, retail space and a parking deck.

“The pipeline is a mixture of third-party developments and McKibbon-owned projects,” he said.

The company has six renovation projects underway, including the Hampton Inn & Suites Orlando Airport; a Homewood Suites and Hampton Inn & Suites in Bonita Springs, FL; and a Four Points by Sheraton in Huntsville, AL. 

McKibbon Places is also providing third-party development services on several new-build projects, including the dual-brand, waterfront Courtyard and Residence Inn Jekyll Island on the Georgia Coast.

“We pursue a broad range of select-service, extended-stay, lifestyle and boutique hotel projects,” Rowen said. “Everything from prototypical low-rise branded projects, to high-rise, urban soft-brand, boutique projects—and everything in between.”

McKibbon Places will break ground on two McKibbon-owned developments in Florida later this year—the Hyatt House Tampa Airport Westshore, a six-floor, 145-room extended-stay hotel; and Hyatt House Orlando Airport, which is also a six-floor, extended-stay hotel with 156 rooms.

“We plan to continue our growth strategy through owned and third-party development and renovation opportunities,” he said. “We will continue building our relationships as we strive to be the best in class, providing superior service and creating value in all aspects of the development process.” HB

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