When opportunity knocks, you've got to answer the door. That was the case for David Lichtenstein, chairman & CEO of the Lightstone Group, when he had the chance to purchase Extended Stay Hotels from The Blackstone Group.

“I didn't know much about the hotel business, but the price was right and it was a good deal,” says Lichtenstein of the $8-billion purchase of the 683-property extended-stay company. While the privately owned Lightstone may be new to the hotel business, it's a giant in real estate, owning more than 18,000 residential units and 30 million square feet of office, industrial and retail properties in 27 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, DC.

“I also liked the fact that extended-stay is a simple business that generates 98 percent of revenues from rooms sales,” he says. “There's no food and beverage, no conventions, no bar mitzvahs. And it only takes one employee for every 10 rooms to run these properties.”

Lichtenstein says he plans to consult with Extended Stay's management to find ways to continue to grow the company, although he doubts it will enter the franchising arena.

Extended Stay Hotels has five brands and about 77,000 units in 44 states: Extended Stay Deluxe, Extended Stay America, Homestead Studio Suites, StudioPlus and Crossland.

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