The hotel will feature a 28-story tower filled with 600 guest rooms

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CLEVELAND -- Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Ted Ratcliff, senior vice president of operations, Eastern North America, at Hilton Worldwide, made it official with a groundbreaking Monday for the start of construction on the largest hotel project in downtown Cleveland.

The hotel will feature a 28-story tower filled with 600 guest rooms positioned atop a four-story podium of ballrooms, meeting space, retail space and the lobby.

The hotel will feature a rooftop bar as well as underground connections to the Cleveland Convention Center and the Global Center for Health Innovation. The hotel is scheduled to open in 2016.

The hotel will be a significant subject of discussion Wednesday when an advance team for the Republican Party visits to check out Cleveland as a possible convention site.

Situated on the site of the former Cuyahoga County Administration Building, the $272 million project is expected to employ 2,800 workers on the construction job and 450 full-time jobs at the hotel.

"Hilton Hotels & Resorts is pleased to be entering the downtown Cleveland market with a property which will play to the brand's considerable strength in managing convention center properties. The hotel's location will undoubtedly be of great advantage not only to the Cleveland Convention Center but also to the Global Center for Health Innovation," said Ratcliff.

The hotel was designed by Atlanta architecture firm Cooper Cary and is being constructed by Turner Construction Company, Ozanne Construction Company and Van Aukin Akins Architects.

Cuyahoga County and Turner Construction Company have voluntarily compiled an inclusion plan for construction to include 25 percent small businesses, 7 percent female-owned businesses and 15 percent minority-owned businesses.

Cuyahoga County and Turner Construction Company are also committed to meeting or exceeding residency goals for employees hired during the construction project, including 40 percent Cuyahoga County residency and 20 percent city of Cleveland residency.

"Hilton's brand recognition, loyalty programs and national sales teams will add to Cleveland's growing reputation as a meeting and convention destination," said David Gilbert, president and CEO of Positively Cleveland. "Bringing Hilton to Cleveland marks an unprecedented increase in the number of hotel rooms available and adds depth and variety to the city's downtown market, creating a healthy competition between all of the existing hotel brands."

"The start of this construction project marks another step forward in Cleveland's rebirth and puts Ohio's largest city in an even stronger position to compete for trade show and convention business," said County Executive FitzGerald. "I am especially proud that we are creating hundreds of new jobs for hardworking families in our region, and I thank all of our public and private partners for their unprecedented collaboration in moving this project forward."

"The groundbreaking for this hotel is yet another sign that Cleveland continues to improve itself in order to provide visitors and businesses with the finest amenities," said Jackson. "World class entertainment venues, great amenities and Clevelander's welcoming attitude are the things that will keep people coming to Cleveland to work and play."

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