Hilton Baltimore Convention Center Hotel Tops out10 Oct, 2007 Hotel and Motel Management
BALTIMORE, MD – October 8, 2007 – Hilton Hotels Corporation executives and City of Baltimore officials gathered Friday October 5, 2007, at the construction site of the new Hilton Baltimore convention center hotel at the Inner Harbor to commemorate a construction milestone, with the building reaching its uppermost height of 210 feet. A cherished tradition of the steel and construction industries, the “topping out” ceremony featured the placement of an evergreen tree on top of Guest Tower Level 20.
One of the largest projects built in the City of Baltimore, and designed by RTKL Associates, the Hilton Baltimore project is a culmination of a design-build process that began in fall 2005. The hotel property is situated on a five-acre site that consists of two buildings linked by enclosed pedestrian sky bridges that span across Eutaw and Howard Streets and the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) Light Rail Operations, and finally connect the hotel to the Baltimore Convention Center. Since breaking ground in February 2006, over 70 companies have been involved in the design of the hotel and the building of the structure to the “topping out level,” with subcontractors and workers clocking 400,000 man-hours to date. In addition, 90,000 cubic yards of dirt have been excavated; 183 caissons have been installed; over 3,631 tons of rebar and 59,701 tons of concrete have been placed, and 1,027 tons of structural steel and 354 tons of joists have been erected in the east and west buildings, with 250 tons of steel erected in building the two bridges.
Addressing the enthusiastic crowd gathered at the site were Ted Ratcliff, senior vice president Americas Operations – Eastern U.S., Canada, Caribbean & Central America, Hilton Hotels, Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon, who served as host of the ceremony, and M. J. “Jay” Brodie, chairman of the Baltimore Hotel Corporation. Speakers also included Baltimore City Council President, the Honorable Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Baltimore City Comptroller, the Honorable Joan M. Pratt, and Steven J. Speer, vice president, Hensel Phelps Construction Co. and Kenneth Banks, president of Banks Contracting, representing the hotel’s design-build joint venture of Hensel Phelps/Doracon/Banks.
In addition, several students who attend the Hospitality, Finance, and IT Academies at the National Academy Foundation High School, a partner in the Hilton Baltimore Convention Hotel Scholarship Fund, read aloud the names of all design and subcontractor firms and helped to announce the Quality Awards honoring the workers for their excellence.
During the ceremony the impact of the Hilton Baltimore project on the community was noted, both economically and for travel and tourism opportunities. To date, 40 minority- and women-owned business enterprises (MBE/WBE) have participated on the Hilton Baltimore project; and 36 percent (36%) of the design contracts were awarded to MBE/WBE firms. All subcontractors have met with the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development (MOED) to participate in the Mayor’s City Residents First Executive Order. In the most recent reporting period (April 1, 2007 through August 31, 2007), thirty-five percent (35%) of the workers on site were City residents, with an average wage of $22.16 per hour.
“It’s quite an experience being surrounded by the picturesque Inner Harbor area and watching this grand hotel come to life,” said Linda Norman, recently appointed general manager at Hilton Baltimore. “When completed, the Hilton Baltimore will provide Convention Center attendees, business and leisure travelers with the excellent lodging and hotel services for which Hilton is known, and our hotel team members will become an integral part of the local community.”
Scheduled to open in fall 2008, Hilton Baltimore will bring approximately 500 new jobs to the City of Baltimore and will work with the MOED in the recruitment of team members. The hotel also serves to boost the city’s meetings and conventions business, adding 757 guest rooms and 60,000 sq. ft. of flexible function space to the city’s existing hotel inventory. Meeting planners tend often to look at destinations with convention center accommodations. With the new hotel directly connected to the Convention Center, the city becomes a more ideal venue for that part of its tourism trade. Other hotel features include a 25,000 sq. ft. grand ballroom – the city’s largest – a 15,000 sq. ft. junior ballroom, wired/wireless high-speed Internet access in all guest rooms, upscale food and beverage outlets, a Fitness by Precor USA center, a 24-hour business center, retail space, and on-site parking. The property’s close proximity to the Inner Harbor’s amenities and attractions also will delight business and leisure travelers alike.
Further, Hilton Hotels established the Hilton Baltimore Convention Center Hotel Fund for local high school students interested in pursuing a career in the field of hospitality. Within 30 days of the opening of the new hotel, Hilton will contribute an initial $200,000 to the scholarship fund, with matching donations to follow each year for up to 14 years provided that Hilton Hotels remains the manager of the Convention Center Hotel. When fully funded over the next 15 years, Hilton will have contributed a total sum of $3 million to the scholarship fund.
Hilton Baltimore is located 401 W. Pratt Street, between Paca and Howard Streets, Baltimore, MD 21202.
The hotel’s Pre-Opening Sales Office is located at 7. E. Redwood Street, 2nd Floor, Baltimore MD 21202. Telephone 443.573.8700. Fax 443.573.8799. For additional information regarding the Hilton Baltimore, please visit www.baltimore.hilton.com
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Lisa Hanock-Jasie, Director of Communications
Hilton Hotels Corporation, Northeast