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 America 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.
Founder, Chief Executive Officer, Director
H. Wayne Huizenga
CEO & Founder
VP, Real Estate & Founder
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 its 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”. 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.
In 2009, Hyatt recognized OTO Development as Developer of the Year and with the Hyatt Place Project of the Year in 2015. 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 and received this distinction again in 2014. 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. In 2014, Marriott also honored OTO with the prestigious Icon Award for continued excellence in Development and Construction.