Carlson has signed an agreement to develop a $130 million Radisson Blu hotel with Mortenson Development, Inc. at the Mall of America in their home town of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota.
The 501-room upper-upscale hotel will be a cornerstone of Mall of America’s Phase II upscale expansion. Construction of the hotel is expected to begin in December 2010 and its opening is planned for late 2012.
“This investment is part of our Ambition 2015 strategy that includes opening flagship Radisson hotels in key gateway cities in the United States,” says Thorsten Kirschke, global chief operating officer of Carlson Hotels.
The Radisson Blu Hotel at Mall of America in Minneapolis will be the second Radisson Blu to open in the United States, with Chicago’s distinctive Aqua skyscraper being home to the first Radisson Blu, which is expected to open in fall 2011.
Carlson’s Radisson Blu Hotel at Mall of America will be the first hotel connected by sky bridge to Mall of America and will be situated on the south side of the giant mall, between Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s department stores.
The hotel will feature three of the new Radisson room styles including Urban, Naturally Cool and NY Mansion House. It will also feature a restaurant and lounge; spa and fitness facilities; more than 23,000 square feet of meeting space encompassing two ballrooms; and an indoor pool. The hotel will be located off Interstate 494, three miles from Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport and 20 minutes from downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul via the city’s light rail system.
“We identified this location as a strong investment opportunity for one of Carlson’s flagship hotels in part because of the volume of U.S. and international visitors drawn to Mall of America annually,” says Kirschke. “It is an international billboard for distinct global brands, as is Radisson Blu. It also presented a unique opportunity to partner with the high-end design aspirations of the mall and meet the need for additional upper-upscale hotel offerings in the market.”
“We have been working with Mortenson Development for nearly three years to develop an upper-end hotel that would be an integral part of the mall and we are excited that we found the ideal fit with Carlson,” says Kurt Hagen, senior vice president, Mall of America. “The addition of the Radisson Blu Hotel will be a strong new anchor for the mall and coincides perfectly with our upscale expansion that features many new and existing luxury tenants and all of the world-class additions that will be included in our Phase II expansion.”
Carlson announced its Ambition 2015 growth strategy earlier this year. The strategy is fueled by an investment program of up to $1.5 billion focused on positioning Radisson in North America as a globally consistent first-class brand.
Mall of America is the United States’ largest retail and entertainment complex and draws more than 42 million visitors annually, including more than 4 million international visitors. The Mall’s Phase II expansion plan includes high-end, mixed-use hotel, retail and medical facilities.
At 4.2 million square feet, MOA is home to more than 520 shops; Nickelodeon Universe, the nation’s largest indoor family amusement park; Underwater Adventures Aquarium, a 1.2 million gallon walk-through aquarium; Moose Mountain Adventure Golf; Theatres at Mall of America, a 14-screen movie theater with VIP theatre; and more. The Mall opened in August 1992 and is located in Bloomington, Minnesota, minutes from downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul. For more information visit www.mallofamerica.com.
Carlson encompasses more than 1,075 hotels, including the Radisson, Country Inns & Suites By Carlson, Park Inn and Park Plaza brands; more than 1,000 restaurants, including T.G.I. Friday’s and Pick Up Stix; and a majority stake in Carlson Wagonlit Travel, a major business-travel management company. Carlson operates in more than 150 countries and its brands employ about 150,000 people. For more information, visit www.carlson.com.