Monday, March 23, 2009

John Sturgess Joins Hunter Realty Associates, Inc. as Managing Director

To Play Key Role in Company’s National Expansion Plans

Hunter Realty Associates, Inc., a leading hotel investment services firm, today announced that John Sturgess has joined the company as managing director. He will play a pivotal role in the company’s plan to expand nationally.

Previously, Sturgess was corporate senior vice president of development for Carlson Hotels Worldwide. In his role, Sturgess led the team responsible for the overall strategic direction of the development of Carlson’s hotel brands in the Americas, resulting in more than a 220 percent increase in new contracts including doubling the Country Inns & Suites by Carlson portfolio. Prior to Carlson, Sturgess was vice president of development for Prime Hospitality Corp. In that capacity he handled franchise sales, acquisitions and market analysis for AmeriSuites Hotels. Sturgess has held other executive positions throughout his 20 year career in the hotel business, including management positions with Doubletree Hotels Corporation and Richfield Hospitality Services, Inc.

“We have expanded our reach and our sales significantly over the past few years, earning us the Hotel Brokerage Firm of the Year award by Hotel Brokers International (HBI) for the past three years,” said Teague Hunter, CHB, president. “With the opening of our Washington, D.C. office 2½ years ago, we have been servicing the entire Eastern seaboard, but see additional opportunities across the country. John brings a unique, senior-level perspective in hotel development, franchising, operations, management and finance, as well as extraordinary industry relationships that will give us the strength and expertise we need to take the company to the next level.”

Sturgess’ initial responsibilities will be in taking the company national by recruiting and opening new offices in the Midwest, Southwest and Western United States to complement the company’s offices in Atlanta and Washington, D.C., as well as building the company’s client base of hotel real estate buyers and sellers. “John will utilize his national presence and relationships to grow the brokerage and investments business within Hunter while building the company’s national presence,” said Lee Hunter, CHB, chief operating officer. “Our move to grow nationally and bring John on board to lead this effort demonstrates our confidence in the hotel industry during these difficult times because we are here for the long term.”

Teague Hunter will continue to guide the overall vision of the company. Lee Hunter will continue to oversee day-to-day operations of the company, including development of research, marketing packages and broker opinions of value.

“We believe the timing is right to initiate this expansion,” said Bob Hunter. “Transaction activity was off some 80 percent in 2008 as a result of the instability in the credit markets. Our research indicates a significant pent-up demand to both sell and buy hotels, which we expect will accelerate as the year progresses and into 2010 as the credit markets begin to recover. We believe this expansion will allow us to provide our clients with enhanced brokerage and investment advisory services, as the hotel real estate market begins to rebound.”

The firm will continue to focus primarily on the major, upscale and focused-service hotel segments under such branded companies as Hilton and Marriott.

Sturgess holds an MBA (with distinction) from the University of Minnesota and a BA from Southern Methodist University. He is on the advisory board for the Hotel Investment Conference and Midwest Lodging Investment Conference, Hotel & Motel Management Editorial Committee, and is a Membership Committee member for the American Hotel Lodging Association. Sturgess has been quoted by the major hotel, real estate and related industry magazines and has been a speaker, panelist and presenter at the major hotel conferences and universities throughout his career.

About Hunter Realty Associates, Inc.
Hunter Realty Associates, Inc., founded in 1978, has offices in Atlanta, Washington, D.C. and Minneapolis. Along with new offices in Minneapolis, Minn., Hunter’s exclusive focus is hotel brokerage and investment advisory services. For more information or to view current listings, please visit www.hunterhotels.net or contact the firm at 770-916-0300 in Atlanta, 301-215-7507 in Washington, D.C., or 612-850-3433 in Minneapolis.
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