DETROIT-Construction on the new Hilton Garden Inn in Detroit is moving ahead of budget and schedule, according to developer Ferchill Group of Cleveland. The new hotel will be 10-stories tall and have 198 rooms, with 10 suites. The $27 million project is being built in the city’s Harmonie Park area, at Randolph and Gratiot streets.

New hotel rooms, which the city has lacked for decades, have now become valuable. The Detroit Lion’s new stadium Ford Field, which is one year old, will be host the NFL Super Bowl in 2006 and the NCAA Final Four tournament in 2009. The city also may host the Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game in 2005 at Comerica Park, the Detroit Tiger’s new stadium next door to Ford Field.

Hilton’s project is one of many new projects planned the Detroit area’s hospitality industry, which includes three 400-room hotels attached to permanent casino projects by 2006. Also, the city has seen a rush to build new condominium projects.

The topping off of the new Hilton was held in June. Tim Judson, CIO of Ferchill, said the project should be complete by late January-early February. “We should be completing the major portion of construction by the end of December,” Judson told GlobeSt.com. “The brick and stone facing is being installed now, as well as interior features, such as the swimming pool.”

He said when the Hilton opens it will be a medium-priced product, charging about $125-$130 during the week, mostly to business people. The site in Detroit has been sought after by the company for some time, said Judson. “We think it’s one of the prime locations downtown,” Judson said. “With what’s going on in the new ball park and with Compuware moving in, we’re very excited about the strong demand this hotel will have.” He said a nearby Marriott Courtyard has traditionally done well, and expects the same success for the new Hilton.

Compuware, a large software firm based in Farmington Hills, is moving into a new headquarters building in the Campus Martius area downtown.

The city has dedicated $7 million in loans for the Hilton project, with $4 million from the Downtown Development Authority and $3 million from the Detroit Investment Fund, Judson said. Bank of America has provided a $14 million loan for the project as well, he said.

Kraemer Design Group is architect on the project. Turner Construction Co. is general contractor. Crestline Hotels & Resorts Inc. of McLean, VA, has been selected as hotel manager.

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