Virgin Hotels has taken its first steps towards building a global brand of four-star lifestyle hotels with the purchase of a property in Chicago.
The former 27-storey Old Dearborn Bank Building in the city centre will be converted into a 250-bedroom hotel with restaurants, lounges and meeting spaces, which will open as the Virgin Hotel Chicago in autumn 2013.
Anthony Marino, head of Virgin Hotels, said: "This transaction is a first step towards our goal of building a portfolio of hotels that anticipate and respond to the needs of today's travellers and set a new standard for the industry.
"The Virgin Hotels team is focused on finding the best locations and strongest partners to bring Virgin's product vision to life for our 60 million customers around the world."
It is expected that the first property within the Virgin Hotels group will open elsewhere before the Chicago hotel. The group plans to develop hotels in major sites in the United States, including Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Washington DC, as well as London.
It is looking to convert existing hotels and office buildings, as well as develop new properties. Each hotel will have between 150 and 400 bedrooms.
By Janet Harmer
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