Rockbridge’s hotel development company gets new president

The Embassy Suites by Hilton Detroit Troy/Auburn Hills is part of Rockbridge's portfolio. Photo credit: Hilton (Embassy Suites by Hilton Detroit Troy/Auburn Hills)
John Lapins. Photo credit: Rockbridge

Rockbridge’s hotel development company, RBHD, has named John Lapins as its new president. Lapins has more than 30 years of design and development experience with the past 15 years focused on the hospitality industry.  

“John’s experience leading teams and working on the exact type of projects we invest in make him a unique candidate for the role,” said CEO Jim Merkel, to whom Lapins will report. “John will bring experience, relationships and a passion for hospitality development that will strengthen the team and help us grow.”  

Prior to joining RBHD, Lapins led Auro Hotel’s design and construction team and was a partner at Geolo Capital, where he led design and oversaw renovation and new-build hotel construction. Before Geolo, he spent 10 years at Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, leading its North American Divisional Architecture & Construction team on more than 300 new-build, conversion and renovation projects annually. Lapins began his development career at the NYC office of Hines, working on large scale commercial developments for almost 10 years. A registered architect, he holds a B.S. and master’s degree in architecture from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Columbia Business School. 

RBHD, a hotel development and construction management company established in 2011 by Merkel, has completed more than $1.8 billion in renovation and ground-up construction in 51 hotels nationwide and currently has 22 active projects worth more than $900 Million. RBHD creates and builds independent lifestyle and full-service destinations for hotel, restaurant and retail brand experiences. The team executes projects from conception to completion.  

“I am excited to join Rockbridge to lead such a talented and focused group of development professionals at RBHD,” Lapins said. “I have known Jim and Rockbridge for over 10 years dating back to their first Starwood deal, which eventually grew to over a dozen. I have always been impressed by the quality of their work, professionalism and attention to detail. As we all look forward to 2021 and a return to travel and hospitality, I am eager to join such an innovative team.”