Extended Stay America, Inc. is the operator of an economy, extended-stay hotel chain consisting of 629 properties in the United States and Canada. It is listed on the New York Stock Exchange as a "paired share" with the real estate investment trust ESH Hospitality, Inc., the owner of the hotels. Extended Stay America is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. Extended Stay America was founded on January 9, 1995 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida by a George D. Johnson, Jr. and Wayne Huizenga, both former executives from Viacom and its subsidiary Blockbuster. The first two Extended Stay America hotels opened in August 1995 in Spartanburg, South Carolina and Marietta, Georgia. The company was listed on the NASDAQ on December 14, 1995. Extended Stay America acquired the extended-stay hotel chain StudioPLUS on April 11, 1997. The company also developed the Crossland Economy Studios brand as a budget, extended-stay hotel compared the mid-priced StudioPLUS and economy Extended Stay America brands. The corporate headquarters was moved to Spartanburg in September 2001. The Blackstone Group, a private equity firm, acquired Extended Stay America in May 2004 for a total cost of US$3.1 billion in cash and debt. At the time of the merger, Extended Stay America operated 475 hotels; Blackstone increased that number with the addition of 132 from Homestead Studio Suites. Homestead, which was founded by Security Capital in 1992, had been acquired by Blackstone in November 2001 for US$740 million. All of Blackstones extended-stay hotels—consisting of the Crossland, Extended Stay America, Homestead, StudioPlus, and, eventually, Extended Stay Deluxe brands—were managed together by Extended Stay Hotels.