Hawkeye Hotels of Coralville, Iowa, and JR Hospitality of Bloomington, Minn., are converting a 119-year-old landmark building in downtown Minneapolis into a dual-branded Home2 Suites by Hilton and Tru by Hilton. The project represents the 11th and 12th hotels the companies have developed together in Minneapolis.

TWO ASIAN AMERICAN hotel companies have joined forces to significantly change the hotel landscape in two major cities.

Hawkeye Hotels and JR Hospitality are working together to redevelop a landmark building in Minneapolis into a dual-branded Home2 Suites by Hilton and Tru by Hilton. The companies announced the joint-venture project in mid-May.

The pair also announced in late May plans to break ground on a three-hotel project in downtown Milwaukee that will place a Home2 Suites, a Tru and a Holiday Inn Express on one block. The deal also paves the way for Hawkeye Hotels’ debut in Milwaukee.

Hawkeye Hotels is based in Coralville, Iowa. Its founder is CEO Bob Patel. His children are Ravi Patel, president; Raj Patel, chief development officer; and Sajni Patel, vice president.

The joint venture of Asian American owned companies Hawkeye Hotels and JR Hospitality is developing three hotels in downtown Milwaukee – a dual-branded Home2 Suites by Hilton and a Tru by Hilton and a stand-alone Holiday Inn Express.

JR Hospitality of Bloomington, Minn., is a third-generation Asian American owned company. Roshan Bhakta and Jay Bhakta are managing partners. Prince Bhakta, development manager, joined the company in March 2018.

The Minneapolis renovation will transform a 119-year-old downtown building into a 201-unit dual-branded property. Home2 Suites is an upper-midscale extended-stay brand and Tru is a midscale transient hotel. They will be the first Home2 Suites and Tru by Hilton in Minneapolis.

The property was once owned by Hennepin County and known as the William E. McGee Building. It housed the county’s Office of the Public Defender. Before that, the building was home to Western Union Bank Building. The adaptive reuse project will cost nearly $19 million, reported Twin Cities Business.

In Milwaukee, the JV was expected to break ground in late May on the three-hotel project that will bring 331 rooms to the downtown market. The plan calls for two buildings that will house three hotels. One building will contain a dual-branded property – a 115-unit Home2 Suites and a 100-room Tru by Hilton. The other building will house a 116-room Holiday Inn Express, an upper-midscale IHG hotel. Each of these brands is a first for downtown Milwaukee.

The JV bought the three land parcels in August 2018 from Johnson Controls for $5.15 million, reports Urban Milwaukee. Buildings on the sites will be demolished.

The hotels will be near a pedestrian tunnel that leads to the Historic Third Ward, a mixed-use neighborhood with hundreds of businesses, industrial spaces, art galleries, specialty retailers and restaurants. The hotels also will be along the lakefront extension of The Hop, a streetcar system. The extension is scheduled to open in 2020.

Last July, Hawkeye Hotels opened a 93-room Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Marshalltown, Iowa, in response to the city’s business-retention program. The city of Marshalltown backed the hotel project by pledging $1 million in tax breaks.