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SARASOTA, FL-Locally based Lion’s Gate Development is expecting to begin construction in the fourth quarter on a 225-room Waldorf-Astoria. The luxury hotel will be part of the $1-billion Proscenium mixed-use development Downtown.

The 18-story hotel, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2010, will include 38,000 sf of ballroom, meeting and exhibition space, the Peacock Alley lounge, restaurants, a rooftop pool and a 12,000-sf spa. The project will also include 67 Waldorf-Astoria Residences, which will be sold. Pricing information for the units has not yet been established.

The hotel will be managed by an affiliate of Hilton Hotels Corp. Direct access from the hotel’s ballroom and meeting space floor will be provided via a bridge to the VIP lounge of the 800-seat Nederlander performing arts hall, which is also being developed as part of the Proscenium project.

Lion’s Gate Development vice president Karen Cook tells GlobeSt.com that developers are seeking entitlements for the project, which they expect to secure by the summer. “After that time we expect to start demolition work on the site,” she says.

The hotel will be part of the Waldorf-Astoria Collection, which was launched by Hilton Hotels Corp. in January 2006. “We considered many locations, but the scope and quality of the Proscenium truly completed the characteristics of a Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and vice versa,” says Ted Ratcliff, Hilton Hotels Corp. senior vice president-Americas Operations, East US, Canada, Caribbean and Central America, in a released statement. “In addition, we have been watching the Sarasota market for years and the timing was right to consider a presence there.”

The Proscenium will include a total of 130,000 sf of retail, restaurant and entertainment space including a 500-seat, four-screen independent and foreign film theater. It will also include 300,000 sf of class A office, 96 residences within the 18-story office tower and 50 loft residences lining the two five-story buildings on the east half of the property. Marketing and sales efforts for the project have started but signed leases are yet in place, Cook says.

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