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AUSTIN-Hilton Hotels Corp. has formally signed on to manage Austin’s 800-room convention center hotel.

Hilton, based in Beverly Hills, CA, will operate and manage the hotel for 15 years. The agreement is with Austin Convention Enterprises, a nonprofit public facility corporation created by the city of Austin to own the hotel.

The hotel, with more rooms than any in the city and next door to the Austin Convention Center, is to help Austin attract bigger conventions. With construction under way, the hotel is to be ready in January 2004, about two years after the convention center’s expansion.

The 29-story property will have about 60,000 sf of ballroom and meeting space, two restaurants and a full-service health club and swimming pool. It also will have a 750-space parking garage.<p.The city of Austin has sold $262.5 million in bonds for the project. The developer is the Austin-based Landmark Organization. Ellerbee Beckett of Bethesda, MD and Cotera, Kolar & Negrete of Austin are the project architects.

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