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Todd Turner and Corry Oakes were the first employees when George Dean Johnson, Jr., created Extended Stay America in 1995. Long-time friend and business partner Wayne Huizenga immediately recognized the opportunity and joined Johnson as the initial investors and leadership of a company that grew into the fastest growing Owner-Operated chain in lodging history. Extended Stay America became a public company within 12 months of its founding, opening 475 hotels within 42 states over a nine-year history. The company was sold to Blackstone Group for over $3 billion in May 2004 in what was the largest public to private transaction in South Carolina history.

On the very day the deal closed, George Dean Johnson, Jr., Wayne Huizenga, Todd Turner, Jim Ovenden, and Corry Oakes left Extended Stay Hotels to establish OTO Development, LLC with the business plan to develop and manage great select-service hotels with the best brands in the top markets in the United States.

The OTO Development team quickly grew with the addition of Extended Stay America leaders in real estate, construction, purchasing, information technology, and operations. Additional key team members joined from industry leading organizations such as Hilton as well as companies outside of the lodging industry, all contributing sophisticated systems knowledge and deep experience.

George Dean Johnson, Jr.

Founders

George D. Johnson, Jr. was a founder, Chief Executive Officer and a Director of Extended Stay America, Inc. He is a former President of the Domestic Consumer Division of Blockbuster Entertainment, a division of Viacom, Inc. In that position, he was responsible for all U.S. video and music stores. Mr. Johnson has over 30 years of experience developing and managing various businesses. He was formerly the managing general partner of WJB Video, the largest Blockbuster franchisee, which developed over 200 video stores prior to a merger with Blockbuster in 1993. Since 1985 Mr. Johnson has been the managing general partner of American Storage Limited Partnership, a chain of 28 self-storage facilities located in the Carolinas and Georgia. His real estate development company, Johnson Development Associates, Inc., has developed and manages in excess of 5 million square feet of retail, industrial, office space and apartments. As a founder and member of the Board of Directors of Advance America, Cash Advance Centers, Inc., he has overseen the opening of more than 2,250 branches.

H. Wayne Huizenga

Founders

H. Wayne Huizenga is Owner and Chairman of Huizenga Holdings, Inc., a private money management firm. He is Chairman and Chief Executive Office of Boca Resorts, Inc. (NYSE:RST), owner-operator of luxury resorts in South Florida. He is currently a board member and past Chairman of both AutoNation, Inc., (NYSE:AN) and Republic Services, Inc. (NYSE:RSG). In addition, he is sole or majority owner of several service businesses and has numerous real estate interests throughout Florida. Previously, Mr. Huizenga was Chairman of the Board of Extended Stay America, Inc. (NYSE:ESA), Vice Chairman of the Board of Viacom, Inc., and Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Blockbuster Entertainment Corporation. He directed Blockbuster for 19 stores to a position of world leadership in the home entertainment industry. In 1994 he sold Blockbuster to Viacom for $8.5 billion. Mr. Huizenga owns the National Football League’s Miami Dolphins and Pro Player Stadium. In July 1991, he was awarded the franchise for the Florida Marlins Major League Baseball team, the state’s first. In November 1992, he was awarded the franchise for the National Hockey League’s Florida Panthers. In January 1971, Mr. Huizenga co-founded Waste Management, Inc., which today is the world’s largest waste collection and disposal company. He served as President, Chief Operating Officer, Vice Chairman, and Director before retiring from that company in 1984.

Corry W. Oakes III

Founders

Corry W. Oakes III is a Founding Partner, the President and Chief Executive Officer of OTO Development. He serves on the Franchisee Advisory Council for Hyatt Place by Hyatt, and is the President of the Franchise Advisory Council for SpringHill Suites by Marriott. Mr. Oakes was previously the Chief Operating Officer and President of Extended Stay America, Inc, a NYSE listed lodging chain with 475 locations, representing three national brands in 42 states. Extended Stay America, Inc. was the fastest growing owner-operated hotel chain in lodging history prior to selling to Blackstone in 2004 for over $3.1 billion dollars. Mr. Oakes had responsibility for all aspects of the development and operation of the company.

Todd R. Turner

Founders

Todd R. Turner is the Vice President of Real Estate for OTO Development. Mr. Turner and his team will be responsible for market feasibility analysis, site selection, land acquisition, and entitlement for new hotel development. Mr. Turner was previously employed as the Vice President of Real Estate for Extended Stay America, Inc., a NYSE-listed hotel chain that developed and owns 475 hotels. ESA became the fastest growing owner-operated hotel chain in lodging history. Mr. Turner started with ESA in 1994 as one of the original employees of the company. During his time at ESA, he served as the Director of Real Estate for the Midwest Region and National Director of the Real Estate Division. Prior thereto, Mr. Turner was employed as a Real Estate Manager by WJB/Blockbuster Video. WJB Video grew to become the nation’s largest Blockbuster franchisee.

OTO Development was established in 2004 by world-class entrepreneurs with long histories of success in rapid growth organizations. Builders of world-class organizations and a rich history in lodging, the founders created OTO Development with the mission to maximize the value of investments in both people and product. With an emphasis on quality, reliability, service, and value, our goal is to develop a portfolio of great hotels managed by exceptional people.

By the end of 2004, less than a year after it’s founding, OTO Development was awarded its first development award, the “Outstanding Achievement Award” presented by Hampton. During the award ceremony, Hilton leadership remarked that they could not remember another company in their history that had started with such rapid growth. Another prestigious award came only one year later in 2005 when OTO Development was recognized by Hilton as “Hampton Developer of the Year”. Over the years, numerous development and operations awards from Hilton, Marriott, and Hyatt have followed. 

In 2009, Hyatt recognized OTO Development as Developer of the Year. OTO was recognized by Marriott with the “Spirit to Preserve” award in 2010 for exemplifying commitment to environmental sustainability in hotel development and operations, the first award of its kind. OTO Development was also named a “Partnership Circle Award” winner, Marriott’s highest honor. During the presentation, Marriott executives noted the award had never been given to such a young company, quite an accomplishment for an organization with only a few years in existence. OTO Development has continued to achieve brand recognition with Developer of the Year awards in 2010 and 2011 from the Hilton Garden Inn brand and Hampton Inn brands respectively.

Over the last six years, OTO Development has opened 45 hotels, a pace matched by few companies within the lodging industry. This hotel portfolio represents nearly $1 billion of invested capital. Today, the company continues its impressive growth with over $500mm in urban new development projects in the Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Manhattan, and DC markets.