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VANCOUVER, WA-Hilton Hotels Corporation’s Finance Committee on Monday confirmed its commitment to managing a city-owned hotel and conference center in Downtown Vancouver, WA. Scheduled for completion in 2005, the $71-million project will be developed for the City of Vancouver by FaulknerUSA, one of four respondents to the city’s request for proposals.

The development calls for a seven-story building with 225 hotel rooms and a 30,000-sf conference center. The building would occupy the southwest corner of Sixth Street and Columbia Boulevard, on the south side of Esther Short Park. As part of the city’s Downtown revitalization project, new office and residential projects already border the other three sides of the park.

Hilton’s decision was key to the project moving forward, as it is unlikely that city officials would have been able to secure another manager in time to start construction by Dec. 31, the start deadline for projects that need to tap a share of Washington’s sales tax revenue to finance development. The timeline got tight after Marriott backed out of the deal.

The next step for the city will be signing a management agreement with Hilton that is being finalized by FaulknerUSA, the City and Hilton officials. The City’s Economic Development Director Steve Burdick tells GlobeSt.com that tentative terms call for Hilton to invest $1.75 million in the project and receive, for its role as operator, 3% of the hotel’s gross operating income plus the opportunity to earn another 1.5% that would first and foremost go toward paying down the project’s senior debt.

On the heels of that signing will come the finalization of all other development documents, project funding and start of construction, all currently expected to occur in October.

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