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FORT LAUDERDALE, FL-Homewood Suites by Hilton and locally based Cartage Inc. will break ground this fall on a $65 million, 105-suite condominium hotel in the city. This is one of seven such developments in the design stage or under construction in Florida, according to a Hilton spokesperson.To be located in the Village, a master-planned site on the Intracoastal Waterway, the 14-story project is scheduled to open in winter 2005. It will include 12 boat slips to accommodate up to 50-ft yachts and a charter-boat operation for sightseeing and deep-sea diving.The local project is being developed by Cartage Inc./Il Lugano LLC, and will be managed by Hilton Hotels Corp. The condo hotel will be branded and operated as a Homewood Suites by Hilton.This is Homewood Suites’ first location here. Several other Homewood Suites brand projects are planned and in design for South Florida in Fort Lauderdale by the airport, in the Biscayne Bay area of Miami and in Palm Beach Gardens, Hilton spokeswoman Dawn Ray tells GlobeSt.com. In all, Homewood Suites by Hilton has more than 130 hotels.In addition, a Tampa/Brandon-area project is in the design stage, and two more–one near the University of Central Florida in Orlando and one in Sarasota–are under construction and set to open in August and December, respectively, she says, adding, “We have a lot of activity going on in Florida.”The average size of a Homewood Suites is about 100 units. The Homewood Suites brand caters to business travelers or people staying more than five consecutive nights, as the suites have full kitchens and separate living areas. This goes well in Florida due to the business and vacation travel there, according to Ray. “It fits perfectly in the vacation markets, the convention markets,” she says.The new hotel will have residential-style studios, one- and two-bedroom suites. The units have 9-ft ceilings, and washers and dryers. The project also features a fitness center and a 60-ft lap pool and intends to offer the amenities typical of a first-class resort hotel. Buyers can use their suites for up to 60 days each year and get income from the nights the units are used as hotel rooms.

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