$17M Renovation for Marriott Downtown Hotel Meeting Space; Inquirer Building Sold

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor In a press release issued last week, management of the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown Hotel announced the completion of a $17 million renovation project of the building’s 92,000-square-foot meeting space. The hotel features 1,408 guest rooms and [...]

In a press release issued last week, management of the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown Hotel announced the completion of a $17 million renovation project of the building’s 92,000-square-foot meeting space. The hotel features 1,408 guest rooms and 72 meeting rooms, the largest of which is the 34,300-square-foot Grand Ballroom, which can accommodate up to 4,500 people. According to Bill Walsh, the hotel’s general manager, the renovation project included all meeting rooms apart from the recently renovated Franklin Hall.

The main improvements include installation of state-of the-art lighting and audio systems, a new electronic reader board system, new carpeting and wall vinyl, new air walls with state-of-the art soundproofing, upgraded meeting rooms suitable for meetings of up to 3,000 guests and modern redesign of the site’s sky bridge. According to the press release, the hotel’s meeting rooms, banquet halls, ballrooms and over 200 guest rooms occupy part of the Headhouse, which used to be the Reading Railroad Co.’s headquarters until 1984, when the rail closed. The Headhouse was then converted into Philadelphia Convention Center’s new main entrance, and the train shed became the Grand Hall and Ballroom. The hotel’s current meeting space, banquet halls and ballrooms occupy the former offices of the Reading Railroad on the Headhouse’s upper floor.

Other real estate headlines include reference to developer Bart Blatstein’s decision to buy  the 526,000-square-foot building currently housing The Inquirer, the Philadelohia Daily News and Philly.com. The 87-year-old, 18-floor tower was sold by Philadelphia Media Network to Blatstein Tower Investments at an undisclosed price, informs The Inquirer, but according to information from another bidder, the purchase price exceeded $19 million.