InterContinental Hotels Group, owner of the Holiday Inn brand, plans to open 400 hotels this year and may work with developers to convert residential projects that have stalled.

Halted developments in urban areas 'are particularly interesting,' Jim Anhut, chief development officer at Windsor, England-based IHG, said in an interview. “We’ve had some good opportunities.'

IHG, which operates more than 4,200 hotels under brands including Crowne Plaza and Staybridge Suites, is seeking to capitalise on a decline in travel and residential development caused by the recession.

'Hotel operators are getting more and more creative in trying to take advantage of opportunities during this economic slump,' said Patrick Scholes, senior equity research analyst at Arlington, Virginia-based FBR Capital Markets.

IHG is converting one Nashville, Tennessee, bank into a Hotel Indigo that will open in August. The hotel operator is also considering similar projects at residential developments.