Blackney Hayes Architects will design Philadelphia's newest hotel

PHILADELPHIA, PA - Blackney Hayes Architects (BHA) has been selected by Development Services Group, Inc. (DSG) to design the newest Philadelphia hotel and will be fundamental in bringing alive Le Meridien's new positioning of a Chic, Cultured, Discovery. The new Le Meridien Philadelphia, Starwood's luxury hotel, is expected to open in January 2009 and will offer guests a new interpretation of contemporary style.

Le Meridien, a European-rooted hotel group with an international portfolio of 120 luxury and upper upscale hotels in over 50 countries, will open its first hotel in Philadelphia. Located only one block away from City Hall on 1421 Arch Street, the 195-room hotel will offer five floors of 4-star accommodations, a 90-seat restaurant with a 40-seat bar & lounge at the lobby level, a state-of-the-art business center, high-tech conference rooms, and a grand ballroom. The hotel will also feature a central atrium courtyard on the 5th floor of the building, boasting a skylight at the crown of its 75 foot ceiling and a giant sculpture.

BHA's design will capitalize on Le Meridien's newly developed design approach of mixing contemporary culture with the heritage of the location. Stuart G. Rosenberg Architects will be the shell building architect. The historic building, formerly a home to the Mid-City YMCA and originally designed in 1911 by Horace Trumbauer, features traditional symmetrical lines, gracious archways and classic woodwork detailing. While BHA will preserve most elements of the authentic design, the hotel's interior will take a bold stand on a modern perspective.

Metal, glass and polished stainless steel will exist alongside the original stone and marble. The interior black and white color scheme with splashes of red tones will offset the richness of the building's wood paneling. In contrast to the heavy monumental archways and detailing, modular, free standing furniture will leave the interior crisp, imparting a sense of openness and elegant simplicity.

"What will be especially sticking about this hotel is the juxtaposition of one design style against the other," said John Fox Hayes, principal of Blackney Hayes Architects. "The original historic features of this turn of the century building, like the beautiful woodwork covering the walls of the lobby, will naturally transform into works of art when positioned against the contemporary designs of the remaining space."

A theme of travel and exploration will be integrated throughout the hotel by custom carpets designed to mimic the art of cartography. Various custom-made sculptures, light fixtures, and even wall coverings will continue that theme, hinting both a wonder of discovery and a value of new perspective. "This is a spectacular building. The millwork at the lobby level would be difficult to replicate today. The building also lays out ideally for a hotel," said Gary Prosterman, president of DSG, the hotel developer. "We are bullish on downtown Philadelphia. The planned expansion of the convention center is 'icing on the cake'. We are thrilled that we can bring this high quality European styled hotel to the city center of Philadelphia."

About Le Meridien: Le Meridien brand, currently represented by approximately 120 properties in 52 countries, was acquired by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide in November 2005. With close to 90 percent of its properties located in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific, Le Meridien provides a strong international complement to Starwood's primarily North American holdings. Plans call for dynamic expansion of Le M

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