RIGA - Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, one of the world's largest hotel and leisure companies whose brand name hotels include Sheraton and St. Regis, has reportedly agreed to manage a new hotel in Riga, marking the international chain's entrance to the dynamic hospitality market in the Baltic states.
Officials from S.P.I. Group, a Russian firm developing the Z Towers project, and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide signed a cooperation agreement on Aug. 30 according to which Starwood will manage the Z Towers' hotel facilities, which will be built on the left bank of the Daugava River.
Roeland Vos, president of Starwood in Europe, Africa and Asia, was quoted as saying, "This project gives us fantastic opportunities to strengthen Starwood's presence in the Baltic region and to present the Sheraton brand in this part of the world."
According to a press release, the new hotel would have 312 rooms, a 725 square meter fitness center, several swimming pools on the upper floors of the building, restaurants, shops, a business center and an 800 square meter conference hall.
The twin tower hotel will be approximately 124 meters tall, making it the tallest building in Latvia.
The hotel is scheduled to be opened in 2010.
Sergejs Bokhanovs, the board chairman of S.P.I. Group, a Russian beverage producer and real estate developer, told the Baltic News Service that the company planned to invest several hundred million euros in the project, but he did not disclose exact figures.
Vilma Kellermann-Baans, vice-president of Starwood, whose other brand names include Westin and Four Points, said that the company did not plan to open any hotels in either Lithuania or Estonia, since one Sheraton hotel would be enough for all three Baltic states.
The company chose Latvia because it is the fastest developing of the Baltic states, Kellermann-Baans said.
The project authors of Z Towers are the architects from the FL Tadao & Luksevics architectural bureau, while the construction will be funded by Nordea Banka.
The S.P.I. Group produces spirits and wines and is aggressively pursuing investments in the real estate sector, particularly in Moscow.
The group is co-owner of Latvijas Balzams, Latvia's largest alcoholic beverages producer.
Z Towers was established in 2004. Its sole owner is the Netherlands-registered company S.P.I. Resources B.V.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide manages 850 hotels in more than 95 countries of the world.
The company's 2006 revenues amounted to nearly $6 billion.