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IHR Opens Convention Center and Lancaster Marriott

Interstate Hotels & Resorts,  a leading hotel real estate investor and the nation’s largest independent management company, today announced that it has opened the 299-room, full-service integrated Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square and Lancaster County Convention Center, comprising a combined 90,000 square feet of meeting space.  Interstate has been actively involved in the development of the project for more than a decade, including feasibility, construction oversight and devising marketing strategies to maximize the overall economic benefit for Lancaster County.  The $177-million hotel and convention center project is a joint venture of the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Lancaster, Lancaster County Convention Center Authority and private developer Penn Square Partners.  Interstate operates both parts of the integrated facility.“Lancaster County, with its rich history, old-world charm and unique tradition, is a major regional travel destination, and this all-new upscale hotel and convention center offers a compelling lodging alternative for both business and leisure travelers,” said Thomas F. Hewitt, Interstate chairman and chief executive officer.  “With its central Pennsylvania location and more than 90,000 square feet of combined meeting space that can accommodate groups of up to 5,000, this state-of-the-art facility offers a convenient and affordable option for meeting planners throughout the Northeast.  It also will be a magnet for the millions of visitors who come to enjoy the natural beauty and amenities of the Pennsylvania Dutch countryside.”

“Interstate’s proven track record with convention centers and hotels, along with its size advantage, in-depth knowledge of the region, and experience and relationship with Marriott made them a very compelling choice for our hotel management company selection,” said Nevin Cooley, chief executive officer of Penn Square General Corp.  “As the facility fully ramps up, it is expected to create 200 to 300 new jobs and attract more than 150,000 new visitors to Lancaster annually.”

Located at 25 South Queen Street in historic Penn Square, the combined facility features a unique architectural blend of the old and the new in an adaptive reuse of an historic landmark.  The 19-story Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square incorporates the 19th-century Beaux Arts façade of the landmark Watt & Shand department store and features a breathtaking lobby highlighted by grand cathedral ceilings and mahogany paneling.  All 299 guest rooms feature stunning views of downtown Lancaster, as well as 37-inch LCD high-def televisions and the industry’s only digital “plug & play” system that connects laptops to TVs.

The integrated facility features a spacious 46,500-square-foot exhibition space; 9,000 square-foot ballroom; and numerous smaller, finely appointed meeting spaces.  Wireless connectivity is available throughout the facility.  Other hotel amenities include two on-site business centers; a fine dining restaurant/lounge with 100-seat dining room and private dining; lobby bar; indoor swimming pool and whirlpool tub; exercise room; and two spa treatment rooms.

“This represents one of the 16 management contracts we have signed for properties under development or construction,” said Leslie Ng, chief investment officer.  “Our pipeline remains quite active as we continue to focus on expanding our third-party management contract business.”