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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Friday, April 3, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Red Lion hotel in Spokane to become upscale Hotel RL

The Red Lion Hotel at the Park will be transformed into an upscale Hotel RL, Spokane-based Red Lion Hotels Corp. announced Tuesday.

The remake of the riverfront hotel is part of a deal that has Red Lion selling a 45 percent stake in 12 of its hotels to an investment group.

The buyer, which is now Red Lion’s partner in a joint venture, includes big investment firms Shelbourne Capital LLC and an affiliate of Red Lion Hotels’ largest shareholder, Columbia Pacific Opportunity Fund.

Money from the sale will be used to retire debt and to renovate the 12 hotels, according to a news release. It also will help fuel Red Lion’s national expansion, it said.

Red Lion Hotels CEO Greg Mount said in an interview Tuesday that the revamped Hotel RL in Spokane will be “one of the nicest hotels in the market” when renovations are done, which he estimates will be in the next year to year and a half.

Upgrades include technology, he said. Guests will be able to go online and choose their hotel room as they do their airplane seats, then use their smartphones as a key to get into those rooms.

“You won’t even have to go to front desk,” Mount said, adding, “the technology we’re deploying at Hotel at the Park is very cutting edge.”

Red Lion has sold a number of hotels in recent years — the company owns 19 of the 55 hotels it operates and expects that number to continue shrinking. But the company’s strategy for expansion will include buying, renovating, then selling hotels while continuing to operate them through franchise or management contracts, Mount said.

The company is focused on expanding into the top 80 markets nationally, such as Manhattan, Chicago and Miami, he said. In December, Red Lion announced it had bought a hotel on Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and plans to renovate it and reopen it this summer as its first Hotel RL.

Red Lion Hotels Corp. employs nearly 275 people in its corporate office in Spokane.

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