Korean-American Sam Moon Group opens 5-star hotel in Plano, Texas

Moon Dae-dong, chairman of Sam Moon Group

Sam Moon Group, a Texas-based Korean American enterprise mainly focusing on retail and commercial real estate businesses, has opened its first, five-star hotel in the United States that will be run by global hotel chain operator Marriott International Inc.

The company invested $115 million in the luxury hotel located in Plano, a major metropolitan area in the outskirts of Dallas in Texas, and the hotel has 304 rooms and convention facilities including a large-scale banquet hall that can seat up to 1,200 people.

With the latest hotel opening, Sam Moon Group has successfully shifted its business focus from retail and trading to hotel development. The company plans to open another hotel, which would be a boutique hotel with 170 rooms, by the end of this year and another one with 150 rooms in August, next year, Moon Dae-dong, chairman of Sam Moon Group, said in a recent interview with Maeil Business Newspaper.

As part of efforts to expand development projects, Sam Moon Group has completed paper work to change use of a 340,000 square-meter golf course site in Houston, Texas, to commercial purpose to build a large-scale hotel, apartment, and multi-complex commercial facilities.

“Hotel business requires large amount of investment,” said Moon. “But once it is built, it generates profit without inventory.”

The chairman said that the company is aiming to expand its lodging business mainly in commercial areas or upscale, affluent residential areas.

Sam Moon Group’s move to shift its business focus from retail to development has come as the retail industry in the U.S. has been hit by the recent economic downturn. Moon said that since the 2008 global financial crisis, the prolonged economic slowdown has led young consumers in their teens and 20s to prefer online shopping over offline shopping at department stores, which has also led the company to seek a breakthrough in its business.

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