Mall of America hotel to be 2nd Radisson Blu in U.S.

BLOOMINGTON, MINNESOTA Carlson Hotels Worldwide has signed an agreement to develop a US$130 million Radisson Blu hotel with Mortenson Development Inc., the brand’s second property announced for the United States.

 The 501-key upper-upscale hotel will be a cornerstone of the second phase of the upscale expansion of Mall of America, the largest retail center in the country. Construction of the hotel is expected to begin in December, 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.

Radisson Blu Hotel at Mall of America in Bloomington, a suburb of Minneapolis, joins Chicago’s distinctive Aqua skyscraper, which is slated to house North America’s first Radisson Blu, expected to open in fall 2011.

The Radisson Blu Hotel at Mall of America will be the first hotel connected by bridge to Mall of America and will be situated on the south side 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, and more than 23,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, encompassing two ballrooms, and an indoor pool. The hotel will be off of Interstate 494, three miles from Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport and 20 minutes from downtown 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,” Kirschke says. “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.”

The announcement caps three years of planning for the hotel by Mortenson Development. The project was tentatively slated as a Renaissance property, but Marriott International dropped out of the project earlier this year. Sheraton Hotels & Resorts was also rumored to be interested.

“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,” says Kurt Hagen, senior vice president of Mall of America. “Carlson, along with its Radisson hotel brand, and Mall of America, are all great Minnesota brands that are recognized globally.”

Carlson announced its Ambition 2015 growth strategy earlier this year. The strategy is fueled by an investment program of up to US$1.5 billion and is focused on positioning Radisson in North America as a powerful, globally consistent first-class brand.