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Hard Rock Hotel To Open In New York

NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Sol Melia Hotels and Resorts and Hard Rock Cafe have entered into a 50-50 joint venture (Lifestar Hotels, LLC) with Becker Ventures LLC to develop and manage the Paramount Hotel in New York City, which Becker recently acquired from Century Paramount LLC for $126.5 million. The hotel will undergo a multi-million dollar refurbishment to commence at the beginning of 2005, following which it will be re-branded the Hard Rock Hotel New York.

Until the refurbishment is complete the hotel will continue to operate as the Paramount Hotel with all activities being managed by Lifestar Hotels.

"This is an attractive development for Sol Melia," said Andre Gerondeau, EVP North America for Sol Melia S.A Hotels and Resorts. "By combining Sol Melia's proven hotel management and distribution experience with the worldwide recognition of the Hard Rock brand, we believe we will have the most exciting and one of the most successful ventures in Manhattan."

Located just off Times Square, on 46th between Broadway and 8th Avenue, the Paramount Hotel is situated in one of Manhattan's most vibrant locations. "The location for the new Hard Rock Hotel New York is excellent. Based on our experience with the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago, which opened at the end of last year, we will deliver a high quality product that will be founded upon Hard Rock's formula of an all-encompassing lifestyle experience," said Mike McInerney, principal of Becker Ventures. "We feel that the addition of a Hard Rock Hotel to the city of New York will be a strong addition to Manhattan's overall offering."

The new hotel is set to become a strong force within Times Square from a leisure, business and group standpoint, offering a destination restaurant, a "hot-spot" bar and a Hard Rock Hotel Retail Store. In addition, the former 10,000 square foot speak-easy bar in the basement will be redeveloped to create a venue for corporate and social events.

"New York City is one of the top business and leisure destinations in the world and bringing Hard Rock Hotel New York to the Times Square area further establishes the Hard Rock brand as a force in the hotel industry," said Trevor Horwell, vice president of hotels and casinos, Hard Rock Cafe International. "We plan on improving the quality of the hotel to bring it to the standards that guests expect from the Hard Rock Hotel."

New York will be the third Hard Rock Hotel to be part of the joint venture since its formation in 2003, the others being in Chicago, which opened earlier this year, and San Diego which is due to open in 2006. –Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner