Construction Begins on $137.5M Radisson Blu

Carlson Hotels, the global hospitality and travel company, and equity partner Mortenson Construction have commenced construction of the upper-upscale hotel, which will become the first lodging facility to be linked to the 4.2 million-square-foot Mall of America via skywalk.

May 31, 2011
By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor

The 500-room Radisson Blu at Mall of America will soon sprout up at the largest retail and entertainment complex in the U.S., the Mall of America, located just outside of downtown Minneapolis in Bloomington, Minn. Carlson Hotels, the global hospitality and travel company, and equity partner Mortenson Construction have commenced construction of the $137.5 million upper upscale hotel, which will become the first lodging facility to be linked to the 4.2 million-square-foot mall via skywalk.

Mortenson is serving as both developer and general contractor on the project, and Carlson will manage the property under a 40-year contract. The 13-story hotel, designed by the architectural firm of Elness Swenson Graham Architects Inc., will feature 22,500 square feet of meeting and event space, as well as a restaurant and bar. The structure is being built on the south side of the mega-size mall, where over 40 million visitors pass through the doors every year. With people from all over the world traipsing through and the Minneapolis business district located within close proximity, Radisson Blu will have a pool of potential patrons practically just outside its front door.

And the fact that the Minneapolis hotel market is making a comeback won’t hurt the property’s success. The national hotel market in general is rebounding, having experienced year-over-year increases in occupancies, average daily rate and revenue per available room, according to a first quarter report by STR Global. Minneapolis-St. Paul was one of the four cities that experienced an increase of 10 percent or more.

Radisson Blu is part of MOA’s Phase II high-end expansion endeavor, and it marks Carlson’s second development deal for a Radisson Blu hotel in the U.S. The international brand will make its official entrée into the American market with the November 2011 opening of the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago.

Carlson and Mortenson announced the completion of financing for the new hotel in early May. The team secured funds from a variety of sources including Recovery Zone Facility bonds, mortgage secured notes and general obligation and bonds from the City of Bloomington. The project is on track to reach completion in March 2013.