Business & Finance

Davidson Hotels & Resorts Announces the Sale of the Iowa City Sheraton

ATLANTA, Ga. July 27, 2017 – Davidson Hotels & Resorts announces the transition in ownership of the Iowa City Sheraton, a property formerly owned by RockBridge and managed by Davidson for nearly 10 years. AJ Capital Partners, a Chicago-based private equity firm, has acquired the property while retaining Davidson Hotels & Resorts as the management company.

The Iowa City Sheraton is conveniently located on Iowa City’s Pedestrian Mall District which offers an eclectic mix of culture, arts, entertainment and dining options and only steps away from the University of Iowa, home of the Iowa Hawkeyes.

The nine-story, 234-room hotel will undergo an expansive renovation in 2018, culminating with a relaunch to the Graduate Iowa City by summer 2018. Renovations will touch all aspects of the property including more than 13,000 square feet of meeting and event spaces, as a well as guestrooms, restaurants, pool and the hotel lobby. Additionally, Graduate Hotels will bring a creative, contemporary, locally driven food and beverage program with the desire to cultivate relationships among hotel guests and locals. Upon conversion to a Graduate Hotel, the property will operate under Pivot Hotels & Resorts, Davidson’s lifestyle and luxury operating division.

Graduate Hotels are synonymous with creating a unique environment for travelers, aiming to create lasting memories through adventure and exploration, and are part of a well-curated, thoughtfully crafted collection of hotels. Each property exudes dynamic energy, supporting its local community, as Graduate Hotels are located in university centric cities across the country.

“AJ Capital has created one of the most exciting new concepts in lodging with Graduate Hotels. We have operated in over ten university markets ourselves, so the combination of our experiences will be highly strategic as we grow together,” said John Belden, president and CEO of Davidson. “We are thrilled to become part of the AJ Capital family and look forward to presenting the Iowa City community with an exciting new chapter for the hotel.”

"It is with great pleasure that we announce the acquisition of the Sheraton Iowa City,” says Tim Franzen, President of Graduate Hotels. “This acquisition exemplifies our strategy of investing in ideally located assets in multi-dimensional university-anchored markets. We look forward to expanding our footprint within the Big Ten Conference with Graduate Iowa City’s opening next year. We look forward to growing with Pivot Hotels & Resorts as they’ve quickly established themselves as one of the most creative and innovative lifestyle managers in the industry.”

Davidson Hotels & Resorts, and its lifestyle and luxury operating division, Pivot Hotels & Resorts, is one of the industry’s preeminent hotel operators, specializing in branded and lifestyle full-service and upscale urban select-service hotels. For more information about Davidson Hotels & Resorts and Pivot Hotels & Resorts, visit or

About Davidson Hotels & Resorts

Davidson Hotels & Resorts is an award-winning, full-service hotel management company providing management, development/renovation, acquisition, consulting and accounting expertise for the hospitality industry. Amassing one of the purest full-service hotel portfolios in the industry, Davidson, along with its lifestyle and luxury operating division, Pivot Hotels & Resorts, specializes in independent and branded assets in the upper-upscale to luxury segments including 42 hotels, nearly 13,000 rooms and 1.4 million square feet of meeting space across the United States. A trusted partner and preferred operator of Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt hotels, Davidson delivers hospitality and creates value for owners with every single hotel. More information can be found at

About Pivot Hotels l Resorts

Pivot Hotels & Resorts, the lifestyle and luxury division of Davidson Hotels & Resorts, operates with a deep-rooted passion for continuous innovation, exceptional service delivery, revenue generation, inspired marketing and financial responsibility. Constituted by some of the most accomplished leaders in lifestyle hospitality, Pivot Hotels & Resorts caters to today’s experience-seeking, adventure-minded traveler through inspiring design, thoughtful service, and one-of-a-kind experiences at each of its hotels and resorts. Pivot Hotels & Resorts operates eight hotels and resorts across the US with two more in development in Chicago and Nashville. More information may be found at

About Adventurous Journeys Capital Partners

Adventurous Journeys Capital Partners, based in Chicago, is an accomplished team of hospitality and real estate investors whose innate passion is to create a one-of-a kind portfolio of timeless assets. The counter-culture investors acquire, design and develop transformative real estate throughout the United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean. In fall 2014, AJ Capital Partners launched the Graduate Hotels collection. AJ Capital Partners continues to grow its portfolio of lodging investments, firmly establishing the group as visionary leaders in the lifestyle-driven investment industry. For more information on AJ Capital Partners, please visit

Coming Up In The September Online Hotel Business Review

Feature Focus
Hotel Group Meetings: Blue Skies Ahead
After a decade of sacrifice and struggle, it seems that hotels and meeting planners have every reason to be optimistic about the group meeting business going forward. By every industry benchmark and measure, 2017 is shaping up to be a record year, which means more meetings in more locations for more attendees. And though no one in the industry is complaining about this rosy outlook, the strong demand is increasing competition among meeting planners across the board – for the most desirable locations, for the best hotels, for the most creative experiences, for the most talented chefs, and for the best technology available. Because of this robust demand, hotels are in the driver’s seat and they are flexing their collective muscles. Even though over 100,000 new rooms were added last year, hotel rates are expected to rise by a minimum of 4.0%, and they are also charging fees on amenities that were often gratis in the past. In addition, hotels are offering shorter lead times on booking commitments, forcing planners to sign contracts earlier than in past years. Planners are having to work more quickly and to commit farther in advance to secure key properties. Planners are also having to meet increased attendee expectations. They no longer are content with a trade show and a few dinners; they want an experience. Planners need to find ways to create a meaningful experience to ensure that attendees walk away with an impactful memory. This kind of experiential learning can generate a deeper emotional connection, which can ultimately result in increased brand recognition, client retention, and incremental sales. The September Hotel Business Review will examine issues relevant to group business and will report on what some hotels are doing to promote this sector of their operations.