Candlewood Suites is celebrating its 10th anniversary in a big way. In early May, executives from the InterContinental Hotels Group brand marked the landmark with an event in Wichita, KS, site of the first Candlewood property and the brand's headquarters until IHG bought it in early 2004.

More significantly, at the anniversary celebration brand leaders announced a partnership with Habitat for Humanity International to sponsor construction of 10 houses in the next three years in the U.S., Latin America and India. Construction on the first house began in July in Dallas, home to seven Candlewood Suites properties.

In addition to the brand's financial sponsorship of the Dallas home, more than 100 Candlewood employees in the Dallas area committed to work 50 hours over a seven-week period to build the home.

In addition to Dallas, other Candlewood-sponsored homes will be built in Atlanta; Charlotte; Chicago; Detroit; Houston; Richmond, VA; Wichita; and one each in Mexico and India.

The 114-unit brand has been on a growth spurt since the IHG acquisition two years ago. According to the company, it executed more Candlewood franchise agreements in the first six months following the acquisition than the company did in the three years prior. Nearly 90 properties are in the development pipeline, and growth plans call for units in major metropolitan markets, such as New York City.

The chain has also improved its operating performance, outpacing its extended-stay competition in RevPAR growth in 2005 by 27 percent. Candlewood has had double-digit RevPAR growth for 15 consecutive months.

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