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ORLANDO-Developers have broken ground on the $380-million, 1,400-room Hilton Orlando Convention Center. The hotel is rising on 26.4 acres south of the Orange County Convention Center on International Boulevard.

Hilton Hotels Corp. will manage the hotel with a minority ownership interest. Apollo Real Estate Investment Fund V and Rida Development Corp. will have a majority ownership of the hotel. The hotel is scheduled to open summer 2009. “We are excited to help fill the need for high-end hotel rooms in the area,” says Hilton Hotels Corp. senior vice president of Hilton Brand management Jeff Diskin.

The 18-story hotel will capitalize on the Orlando convention market, which currently offers few hotels within walking distance of the convention center. It will feature 52 suites and direct access to the convention center’s south concourse through a pedestrian sky bridge. The hotel will also feature 130,000 sf of meeting space with a 50,000-sf ballroom, a 30,000-sf junior ballroom and 38 meeting rooms. Also included will be a 15,000-sf spa and fitness center, an Italian restaurant, fine dining restaurant, sports bar, lobby lounge, pool bar and grill and deli.

“Orlando has wanted this project for some time,” Hilton spokeswoman Lisa Cole tells GlobeSt.com. “Discussions were started before 9/11 on this project.”

The hotel is being designed by locally based HKS Architects and will be constructed by Welbro Building Corp. In addition to serving convention goers, the hotel will serve the leisure traveler. “It’s right down the street from Sea World so it will serve business and leisure travelers,” Cole says.

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