After meeting Kemmons Wilson, the founder of Holiday Inn, DeNean Stafford, Jr., entered the hotel business in 1960, with the development of two Atlanta Holiday Inns: one downtown on Cain Street and one off Howell Mill Road. In the mid 1960’s, he expanded his hotel portfolio with another Holiday Inn in Tifton, Georgia and a Ramada Inn in Valdosta, Georgia.
Also in the 1960’s, the corporate officers of the Life Insurance Company of Georgia decided they’d like to build a hotel adjacent to their Life of Georgia Tower in Atlanta, and approached DeNean Stafford, Jr. about developing and leasing the property. In 1969, Mr. Stafford established Center Investments, Ltd. to build and lease the hotel to Stouffer Foods Corporation on property leased from the Life Insurance Company of Georgia. When the hotel opened in the fall of 1972, it was the largest in the country, with just over 500 rooms, and the largest conference center in Atlanta. In 1976, realizing they’d have to refurbish the hotel, as new competing hotels were entering the Atlanta market, Stouffer’s gave notice that they were planning to terminate their lease in one year. Mr. Stafford arranged a new contract with Sheraton, beginning in 1977. The new Sheraton-Atlanta Hotel was refurbished, top to bottom, and sales increased through the early 1980s, when operating expenses started to rise and profits decreased. The partnership sold the property to EHP, Inc. in 1984, and it was rebranded as the Pierremont Plaza Hotel. In 1986, Center Investments filed foreclosure papers and took over the hotel in 1987 and renovated again. In 1990, the hotel was sold to F-S Hotel Associates, and today operates as the Crowne Plaza. From start to finish, the partners invested $2,620,000 in the hotel, and had $10,025,923 returned to them, making it a highly profitable investment in the long run.