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SAN FRANCISCO-Seven years to the month after it filed for permits, Continental Development Corp. of Atlanta is one month away from breaking ground for a 550-room high-rise hotel adjacent to the new Moscone West Convention Center. UK-based InterContinental Hotels Group this week announced it will partner with CDC in the project and operate the property when it opens in late 2007.

Located at Howard and Fifth streets, the 32-story building includes 43,000 sf of meeting and function space on three levels designed to complement the convention center. Other amenities include the exclusive Club InterContinental lounge; a lobby-level upscale restaurant and bar; an 8,000-sf full-service spa and health club and; an indoor lap pool.

The design architect is Patri Merker Architects and the construction architect is Hornberger+Worstell. Brayton+Hughes Design Studio is the interior design firm. Webcor will be the project’s general contractor.

CDC did not return a phone call Thursday seeking additional detail on the partnership. A source at InterContinental tells GlobeSt.com that InterContinental owns a minority stake in the property and will operate the property but that CDC is the majority partner and will lead the development. The hotel will be InterContinental’s second hotel in the city.

CDC applied for permits to develop the property with a hotel in September 2000 and had to overcome much opposition from organizations concerned about such projects driving out the area’s poorer residents. Original plans called for a 39-story building that included 70 market-rate condominium units on the top floors.

The proposal–minus seven stories and the condos–won approval from the planning commission in 2002. Six months later, former planning commission president Hector Chinchilla was indicted on seven conflict-of-interest charges brought by the District Attorney’s Office. The charges stemmed from consulting work Chinchilla performed for three companies, including Continental Development, while they were applying to the commission for permits.

The indictment reportedly cost Chinchilla his reappointment, but it did not hinder the project. CDC gained the backing of local community organizations in part by offering them financial incentives and the backing of the hotel workers union by agreeing to recognize the union if a majority of the hotel workers authorized it.

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