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Archive for Sunday, May 19, 2002

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May 19, 2002

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Black-owned luxury hotel opens, overcomes challenges

The Royal Palm Crowne Plaza, the nation's first black-owned luxury hotel, recently opened its doors, and its developer hopes to put 150 of its 422 rooms for sale as condominiums before year's end.

"Its the simplest solution," R. Donahue Peebles, said of his plan to sell to offset the $80 million hotel's $16 million in cost overruns, which he partially blames on the city of Miami Beach.

Peebles, who put $6.5 million into the hotel, expects the units to go on the market in late summer for $300,000 to $400,000. "And the city still has 422 new rooms."

The Royal Palm is 800 days off schedule, $16 million over budget a hotel Peebles describes as "the challenge of my career."

Born out of controversy building a black-owned hotel was key to ending a 1,000-day black tourist boycott of Miami Beach, the fruit of Miami's snub of Nelson Mandela in 1990 the hotel faced a thicket of troubles from the start, among them contaminated soil, decrees from city developers that one building be torn down, and counter demands from the historic preservation board that the same building remain up.

Influence: Many Americans aren't lured by reward points, survey says

Most Americans about one in four aren't easily swayed by the lure of accumulating frequent flyer miles or other types of reward points when deciding whether to use a credit card or pay by cash or check,

According to a nationwide telephone survey of 1,000 people by the Cambridge Consumer Credit Index, only about one in four consumers said reward programs have a great deal or good amount of influence in encouraging them charge purchases on credit cards instead of pay cash.

Two out of three consumers don't even have credit cards offering rewards points or rebates.

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