citizenM hires Americas head of development

citizenM is bolstering its ambitious growth plans by appointing a new MD of investment and development for the Americas.

Rani Gharbie will spearhead the lifestyle hotel brand’s initiative to actively expand its Americas portfolio.

New markets targets

Leveraging his extensive transaction experience and deep industry relationships, Gharbie will pursue a balanced strategy of sourcing exceptional investment opportunities for the group, and putting together strategic partnerships to jointly invest with citizenM in future deals to grow the hotel portfolio in key urban destinations.

Important locations for this next phase of citizenM’s expansion include new markets in the USA’s south, southeast, and west coast, as well as Toronto, Vancouver, and other major cities in Canada. Additionally, citizenM is actively exploring opportunities to acquire or develop additional properties in cities where it already has a presence, including New York City, Washington DC, Miami, Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago and Austin.

Senior experience

Prior to joining citizenM, Gharbie founded New York-based real estate investment firm Cedar Funds and held senior roles with major hotel groups globally such as Virgin Hotels, IHG Hotels & Resorts, Hyatt Hotels Corporation and BD/Pod Hotels.

He also teaches ‘private equity hotel development’ at his alma mater, Columbia University’s real estate development programme.

Proven track record

citizenM CEO Klaas van Lookeren Campagne said: “Rani is incredibly well-suited to lead our expansion efforts with over two decades of distinguished experience in real estate investment and development.

“His proven track record of securing and executing complex deals throughout North America and beyond will allow citizenM to capitalise on the abundant opportunities ahead.”

Prime partnership prospects

Gharbie himself commented: “I look forward to leveraging my hotel real estate network and deal-sourcing expertise to deliver exceptional returns through new citizenM projects.

“The maturing loan environment should also present prime opportunities for strategic acquisitions and partnerships. My goal is for my team to profitably scale our portfolio across key target markets.”

Accelerated investment

citizenM hotels are designed to address the rapidly growing demand for tech-enabled, affordable lodging that provides all the quality of luxury hotels where it matters. The brand’s streamlined operating model and signature communal spaces have disrupted the hospitality sector since it started in 2008, with its capitalisation and fully integrated development and ownership approach enabling a proactive stance and accelerated investment in its North American rollout.

Backed by strategic investors GIC and APG Investments, the owner-operator hotel and lifestyle brand currently has 31 properties worldwide in key urban core locations in metropolitan cities, including 20 locations across the USA.

Its American pipeline includes CitizenM Lincoln Road, delivering 50 keys to Miami, Florida in Q1 2024; the 133-room CitizenM Hotel Parcel 12, heading to Boston, Massachusetts in Q2 2024; and the 228-key CitizenM Georgetown, arriving in Washington DC in Q1 2025.