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Westin Checks In To Tampa

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TAMPA - A Westin Hotel scheduled to open in Tampa in late 2006 will be the chain's first in the city and a new company prototype aimed at suburban markets.

The 12-story, 200-room waterfront hotel planned for Rocky Point off Courtney Campbell Parkway will be a scaled-down version of the Westins that cater to business travelers in larger cities such as New York, Chicago and Atlanta, said its developer Dilip Kanji.

The Tampa hotel will have fewer than half the rooms and fewer dining options than standard Westins.

``We're going to have one quality restaurant instead of the five you would find in a bigger city,'' Kanji said.

He hopes the Westin's reputation for quality will attract business and leisure travelers willing to pay rates starting at $160 a night.

White Plains, N.Y.- based Starwood Hotels & Resorts, which owns the Westin and Sheraton brands, first announced its new, smaller Westin prototype three years ago. In addition to Tampa, smaller Westin hotels are scheduled for Raleigh, N.C., Memphis, Tenn., Bellevue, Wash., and Ballston, Va., in the next 20 months.

The $32 million Tampa Westin will replace a Days Inn built about 50 years ago. The motel will be torn down next week, and construction on the Westin will start in June, Kanji said.

Reporter Randy Diamond can be reached at (813) 259-8144.

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