Acquisitions & Hotel Openings

$272 M 600-key Cleveland Convention Center Hotel, Hilton Cleveland/Downtown Breaks Ground in Ohio

CLEVELAND – April 30, 2014 - Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald and Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson were joined by Ted Ratcliff, Senior Vice President of Operations, Eastern North America, at Hilton Worldwide, and other distinguished guests this afternoon for a groundbreaking ceremony to formally recognize the start of construction on the largest hotel project in downtown Cleveland.

"The start of this construction project marks another step forward in Cleveland's rebirth, and puts Ohio's largest city in an even stronger position to compete for trade show and convention business," said County Executive FitzGerald. "I am especially proud that we are creating hundreds of new jobs for hardworking families in our region, and I thank all of our public and private partners for their unprecedented collaboration in moving this project forward."

"The groundbreaking for this hotel is yet another sign that Cleveland continues to improve itself in order to provide visitors and businesses with the finest amenities," said Mayor Jackson. "World class entertainment venues, great amenities and Clevelander's welcoming attitude are the things that will keep people coming to Cleveland to work and play."

The hotel will feature a 28-story tower filled with 600 guest rooms positioned atop a fourstory podium of ballrooms, meeting space, retail space, and the lobby. The hotel will feature a rooftop bar as well as underground connections to the Cleveland Convention Center and the Global Center for Health Innovation. The hotel is scheduled to open in 2016. "Hilton Hotels & Resorts is pleased to be entering the downtown Cleveland market with a property which will play to the brand's considerable strength in managing convention center properties. The hotel's location will undoubtedly be of great advantage not only to the Cleveland Convention Center but also to the Global Center for Health Innovation," said Ted Ratcliff, Senior Vice President, Operations, Eastern North America, Hilton Worldwide.

Situated on the site of the former Cuyahoga County Administration Building, the $272 million project is expected to employ 2,800 workers on the construction job and 450 full-time jobs at the hotel.

"Hilton's brand recognition, loyalty programs and national sales teams will add to Cleveland's growing reputation as a meeting and convention destination," says David Gilbert, President & CEO of Positively Cleveland. "Bringing Hilton to Cleveland marks an unprecedented increase in the number of hotel rooms available and adds depth and variety to the city's downtown market, creating a healthy competition between all of the existing hotel brands."

The hotel was designed by Atlanta architecture firm, Cooper Cary, and is being constructed by Turner Construction Company, Ozanne Construction Company, and Van Aukin Akins Architects. Cuyahoga County and Turner Construction Company have voluntarily compiled an inclusion plan for construction to include 25% small businesses, 7% female-owned businesses, and 15% minority-owned businesses. Cuyahoga County and Turner Construction Company are also committed to meeting or exceeding residency goals for employees hired during the construction project, including 40% Cuyahoga County residency and 20% City of Cleveland residency.

For additional information on the Hilton Cleveland/Downtown hotel project, including a time-lapsed video and photos of construction, please visit:

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Architecture & Design: Original, Authentic and Localized
Corporate hotel developers once believed that their customers appreciated a homogenous design experience; that regardless of their physical location, they would be reassured and comforted by a similar look, feel and design in all their brand properties. Inevitably this led to a sense of impersonality, predictability and boredom in their guests who ultimately rejected this notion. Today's hotel customer is expecting an experience that is far more original and authentic - an experience that features a design aesthetic that is more location-oriented, inspired by local cultures, attractions, food and art. Architects and designers are investing more time to engage the local culture, and to integrate the unique qualities of each location into their hotel design. Expression of this design principle can take many shapes and forms. One trend is the adaptive reuse of existing facilities - from factories to office buildings - as a strategic way to preserve and affirm local culture. Many of these projects are not necessarily conversions of historic properties into grand, five-star landmark hotels, but rather a complete transformation of historic structures into mixed-use, residential, and hotel projects that take full advantage of their existing location. Another trend is the addition of local art into a hotel's design scheme. From small sculptures and photography to large-scale installations, integrating local art is an effective means to elevate and enhance a guest's perception and experience of the hotel. These are just a few of the current trends in the fields of hotel architecture and design that will be examined in the November issue of the Hotel Business Review.