Business & Finance

Sage and Denver College Launch Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center

Denver, CO - January 26, 2011 - Sage Hospitality is partnering with Metropolitan State College of Denver to create a Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center (HLC) in the heart of downtown Denver that will help meet the needs of Colorado’s tourism industry by educating the next generation of hotel professionals to the industry’s highest standards.

The first of its kind in the Rocky Mountain West, the HLC will feature a 150-room SpringHillSuites by Marriott, a 28,000-square-foot Hospitality Learning Center and 5,000 square feet of meeting and conference space. The combination of classroom instruction and interactive laboratories will provide an experiential curriculum for Metro State’s diverse undergraduate student population as well current professionals seeking continuing education.

The groundbreaking for the HLC will be held March 31, 2011, with an expected opening date in fall 2012.

Sage Hospitality is donating time and resources to this new center, assisting with fundraising and partnering with designers to help integrate the College’s Hospitality, Tourism and Events Program with the hotel. Sage Hospitality is also supporting the development of a highly skilled and diverse workforce for the hotel and the hospitality program overall.

A special purpose corporation (SPC) was formed for the Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center and provides for its financing, construction, operation and management. In November 2010, bonds were issued for this project at a 4.34 percent interest rate. The operating proceeds will flow to the Metro State Foundation for scholarships and academic program support.

Currently, The Curtis, a Sage-managed hotel, provides 875 square feet of on-site classroom space for students to use as a learning tool, providing a proof of concept for the planned Hospitality Learning Center. Regular classes offered in the classroom at the Curtis include: Applied Hotel and Restaurant Operations, Hotel Housekeeping, Meeting and Event Management, and Hospitality Service Systems.

“We’ve always believed that interactive and collaborative instruction is the best way to educate hotel professionals,” says Walter Isenberg, president and CEO of Sage Hospitality. “The partnership with Metro State furthers Sage Hospitality’s commitment to educating a generation of highly skilled hospitality personnel, as well as its dedication to Denver.”

“This project will be the only educational facility of its type in Colorado and one of only 10 in the United States,” says Metro State President Stephen Jordan. “Once completed this facility will take Metro State’s Hospitality Tourism and Events Department to a new level of recognition in the Rocky Mountain Region and nationally.”

“I’m very excited that our more than 500 declared Hospitality Tourism and Events majors will now have additional opportunities to implement academic theory from the classroom in a real-world hotel and learning laboratory,” says Chad Gruhl, chair of the Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center and Assistant Professor of Hotel Administration in the Hospitality Tourism and Events Program. “We feel this project will help the College potentially double its program enrollment in the next decade.”

For more information on the Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center and a full list of project supporters, please visit Metro State is Rising.

About Sage Hospitality
Founded in 1984, Sage Hospitality has strategically grown into one of the largest privately held hotel management and development companies in the nation operating a variety of large, full-service hotels and extended stay and select-service properties.Sage Hospitality's comprehensive management portfolio includes major international brands for Marriott, Starwood, Hilton and IHG as well as independent boutique hotels. Sage Hospitality has further differentiated with the creation of the Sage Restaurant Group, which has created and is managing 10 unique restaurant concepts including the acclaimed Mercat a la Planxa in Chicago. For more information, please visit Sage Hospitality.

About Metropolitan State College of Denver
With more than 24,000 students, Metro State is Colorado’s leader in educating undergraduate Coloradans. Starting in the fall of 2010, the College is offering master’s degrees in accounting and teacher education, will offer a master’s in social work starting fall 2011. The College enrolls the highest number of students of color among four-year colleges in the state. It boasts 67,500 alumni, the bulk of whom remain in Colorado after graduation.


Coming Up In The December Online Hotel Business Review

Feature Focus
Hotel Law: Legal Issues Looming Large in 2015
In an industry where people are on-property 24/7/365, the possibilities are endless for legal issues to arise stemming from hotel guest concerns. And given the sheer enormity of the international hotel industry, issues pertaining to business, franchise, investment and real estate law are equally immense. Finally, given the huge numbers of diverse people who are employed in the hospitality industry, whether in hotel operations or food and beverage, legal issues pertaining to labor, union, immigration and employment law are also significant and substantial. The expertise of all kinds of specialists and practitioners is required to administer the legal issues within the hotel industry, and though the subject areas are vast and varied, there are numerous issues which will be in the forefront in 2015 and beyond. One issue that is gaining traction is how hotels are dealing with the use of marijuana by employees, given its ever-changing legal status. The use of marijuana is now legal in 21 states and the District of Columbia for certain medical conditions. Two other states, Colorado and Washington, have legalized recreational marijuana use for individuals who are 21 years old or older, and Alaska and Oregon currently have similar legislation pending. Most state laws legalizing marijuana do not address the employment issues implicated by these statutes. Therefore, it is incumbent on all hotel operators to be aware of the laws in their states and to adjust their employment policies accordingly regarding marijuana use by their employees. Other issues that are currently looming large pertain to guest identity theft by hotel employees and the legal liabilities which ensue; issues of property surveillance versus a guest’s right to privacy; and immigration reform could also be a major compliance issue. The December issue of Hotel Business Review will examine some of the more critical issues involving hotel law and how some managers are addressing them in their operations.