he term “groundbreaking” took on double meaning today when J.W. (Bill) Marriott, Jr., chairman and CEO of Marriott International, Inc. (MAR:NYSE) picked up a shovel to herald the construction start of a new, 154-room Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott-Inner Harbor at Historic Brewers’ Park to open in the spring of 2009.
The first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-certified hotel in Baltimore City and one of several “green” Marriott hotels planned for the LEED certification company-wide over the next five years, the hotel’s three-pronged ownership includes minority-owned A&R Development, a division of A&R Companies of Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
Long-time Marriott franchisees Summit Associates, LLC, and Hospitality Partners, which will also manage the hotel, also co-own the hotel. Project cost is $23 million.
“The new Fairfield Inn & Suites will bring us closer to achieving two major Marriott initiatives – to become a greener and a more diverse company,” said Bill Marriott. “By 2010, we plan to have 500 minority- and women-owned hotels – we’re currently at 400 – and Marriott is on track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1 million tons, a goal we set in 2000.”
Theo Rodgers, president of A&R Development, embraced Marriott’s diversity goals, adding, “We are proud that our first hotel project carries the Marriott flag.”
Gene Singleton, president of Summit Associates, said that the hotel is in the historic Jonestown District, on Baltimore’s Heritage Walk, and on the site of the former Baltimore Brewing Company at Brewer’s Park.
In keeping with the green theme, Singleton noted that materials from the original brewery – such as beer storage tanks that will be used to collect rainwater, hardware, bricks, and the original Baltimore Brewery sign – will be incorporated into the hotel’s design.
Singleton saluted the hotel’s interior designer, George Conte, who worked with the owners to create public spaces that would “emulate what was there” – a favorite and welcoming community gathering place; and said that the hotel is complying, both during and after construction, with LEED guidelines established by the United States Green Building Council.
James B. Kraft, Baltimore City Councilman and “champion” of the city’s Cleaner Greener Baltimore initiative, said, “In 2009, LEED certification will be a requirement for all Baltimore City developers. That’s how strongly we feel about the importance of green building. The Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott is taking this step without being required to do so by law—they are doing this because it’s the right thing to do. I am honored to help commemorate this milestone in our city, and I hope that this project will serve as a model for future development.”