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MINNEAPOLIS-A joint venture of First Hospitality and Global One Commercial recently held their ground-breaking ceremony for the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Minneapolis & Convention Center, a 210-room property that will cost about $25 million to build. The site, at 1101 Fourth Ave. S., is a stone’s throw away from the city’s convention center and the Metrodome, where the Minnesota Twins, Vikings and University of Minnesota Gophers play.

The 10-story hotel will feature a fitness center, indoor pool and spa, more than 3,000 sf of meeting space, a full-service restaurant and bar and a 24-hour business center. All rooms will include free, wireless high-speed Internet and a flat-screen TV.

This is the first time the two companies have joined forces for a development. “The folks at Global One got this site under control, it’s a terrific site for a hotel,” says Robert Habeeb, president and COO of First Hospitality. “We don’t have a lot of experience in the area, but we like the market.” The company, which has a portfolio of 30 hotels with the Marriot and Hilton brands, has only done one other property in the state: a Hilton Garden Inn in Oakdale. “Based on our experience so far, it’s a great market in Minnesota, we’re eager to do more.” The company is based in Rosemont, IL, while Global One is based here.

First Hospitality primarily focuses on hotels in the Midwest, Habeeb says. He says despite the economy, the regional market is very strong. “Yes, stocks seem pretty depressed, you’re really seeing the effect from the credit crunch and general fears in the marketplace. But if you look at performance, 2007 will turn out to be a record year, and advance estimates on 2008 look good,” he tells GlobeSt.com.

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