MILWAUKEE, WI? The Grand Milwaukee Hotel, for years an independent, is counting on the equity of the Sheraton brand to become a major player in the Midwest. The hotel, now known as the Four Points Hotel Milwaukee Airport, earned two distinctions when it opened Jan. 1: it?s the largest hotel in the chain with 508 rooms, and the only full-service hotel adjacent to Milwaukee?s General Mitchell International Airport. From January through the end of March the hotel underwent a major renovation. Nearly half the hotel rooms have been out of service during this phase. When construction is completed, the hotel will offer more than 60,000 square feet of meeting space, new ?corporate traveler rooms,? two restaurants and a lounge area. The hotel?s management company, Horizon, and co-owner Fremont, a real estate investment firm, are banking on the widely recognized Sheraton brand name to create a higher profile for the property. George Stathas, the hotel?s general manager, believes the Four Points by Sheraton flag will be significant to the property?s repositioning. ?The conversion will play a key role in helping us become a major player for business and convention revenue on a national level,? Stathas said. Annette Smiszek, director of sales and marketing for Four Points Hotel Milwaukee, said occupancy levels and interest in the hotel have risen ?just for having the Sheraton brand.? During one two-week stretch the hotel was shut down entirely because of the renovation, consequently Smiszek did not have reliable occupancy numbers. Anecdotally, she sees a lot of pent-up demand and expects a spike in occupancy when the construction is complete. The hotel is about 10 minutes away from the Midwest Express Center, a Milwaukee exhibition center that opened last summer with the goal of bringing more conventions to the city. According to Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Four Points Hotels have become the fastest growing new mid-scale hotel chain in the United States. They are typically located near airports, business centers and vacation destinations. ?Based on our research, a majority of travelers are looking for the full-service accommodations and amenities already provided by the former Grand Milwaukee hotel,? said Jane Mackie, vp and brand manager of Four Points Hotels by Sheraton. ?That?s what initially attracted us to this property, but it was their reputation and impressive list of amenities, ample meeting space and reputable catering services that sealed the agreement. We anticipate the Four Points branding will be key in order for the property to aggressively market itself nationally and regionally.? The hotel, as part of the conversion process to a Four Points, is renovating ?all aspects of guest accommodations? including carpet, wall covering, window treatments, bathroom fixtures and furniture. In-room amenities will also be upgraded and will include such Four Points staples as hairdryers, irons, ironing boards and coffee makers. The specially designed corporate traveler rooms will feature office workspace and lighting, data port connectivity and a complimentary newspaper. Four Points Hotels operate 99 properties in North America and abroad. The Four Points brand name, according to Starwood, represents the chain?s four-point philosophy of service: The hospitality of an experienced host; the services that travelers need; exceptional care and great price without sacrifice. ITT Sheraton Corp. and ITT Corp. are wholly owned subsidiaries of Starwood Hotels & Resorts.