Photo: Laura Kicey
It always happens this way with new construction. A site looks like a pile of steel beams for months and overnight a real building emerges. To wit: the $60 million Home2 Suites is opening to the public on Tuesday. It is the first hotel to be built from scratch in Center City in a decade.
The Hilton property features 248 rooms – including 22 enormous suites – as well as a fitness center, pool, Wii-enabled game lounge and a bevy of sustainability features. In exchange for $3 million in funding from EnergyWorks, the Wurzak Group (which has partnered with the Parkway Corporation on the new hotel), has installed energy-efficient appliances in the kitchenettes included in each hotel room. Rooms also feature motion-sensitive lighting and public spaces are lit with LED bulbs. There is, of course, a green roof.
Four million dollars–that’s all it took for a Florida investor, Eli Hadad, to purchase the grand Madison House Hotel at auction. When the 121,000-square-foot property was on the market, it was listed at $5.25 million. At auction last week, the bidding started at $4 million. Hadad was the winning bidder because he was the only bidder.
The 14-story Madison was built in 1929 with a stairway modeled after the grand stairway inside Independence Hall. And while the resemblance is certainly striking, the acoustic ceiling above doesn’t quite fit in. Not only that, but the property itself looks like it’s seen better days. Of course, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have potential. Look at the hulking mess that’s the Divine Lorraine–everyone believes that has potential, and there’s barely a scrap left.
Though the Hersha Hotel chain bought the Rittenhouse Hotel more than a year ago, the visible rehab and renovation efforts are quite recent. Today, smartly dressed young men scurry around with swatches and new light fixtures appear on the wall, looking more Hotel Monaco than classic, staid Rittenhouse. This should be interesting.
There has been apprehension among the Rittenhousers that Hersha, which doesn’t have much five-star experience, wouldn’t retain the five-star designation. Then Lacroix panic briefly set in–without the five stars, would Lacroix stay? Not to worry: Hersha will keep the five stars and Lacroix will remain.
The lobby of a Radisson Blu in Chicago. Will the Warwick look like this? Photo: Hotel Chatter
Radisson Blu Warwick Hotel Philadelphia — that’s the new name for the classic Center City hotel, which will get upgraded guest rooms and a new lobby. But they should probably keep the bartender.