|By Lorraine Mirabella, The Baltimore Sun|
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Apr. 13, 2005 - Two new hotels will be built near Baltimore Washington International Airport, adding 463 rooms to the area's booming hotel market, the hotels' parent company said yesterday.
A 203-room Sheraton will be built on Old Elkridge Landing Road in Linthicum, in Anne Arundel County, and will open by fall 2006. Next door, a 260-room Westin Hotel will open, also on Old Elkridge Landing Road, in spring 2007.
The hotels will be developed by Brentwood Hotels and managed LTD Management Co. LLC of Chesapeake, Va. Officials of LTD Management could not be reached yesterday, but the company said in a statement that it expects BWI Airport's $1.8 billion expansion to drive growth in the area's hotel market.
Four hotels opened in the county last year. Fourteen, including the two newly announced projects, are either proposed or under construction, with much of that activity clustered around the airport, said Bill Badger, president and chief executive of Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp., the county's economic development Barm. One of the larger projects under construction is The Buccini/Pollin Group of Washington's 27-acre mixed-use development adjacent to BWI with a 280-room Hilton that should be completed by early 2006.
"I can't remember since I've been here, and that's been 11 years, this much hotel activity in one year," Badger said yesterday. "I've never seen a market with so many of them under construction ... or proposed in one year. It's a very active market right now."
The BWI area already has more than 30 hotels, with the BWI Airport Marriott Hotel among the largest with 310 suites.
Whether or not the county can absorb all of the new rooms will depend on the economic health of the county, which has been strong, Badger said.
"Obviously there's been a lot of investment in this sector," Badger said. "We're pleased that people see opportunities in our marketplace."
Mary Jo McCulloch, president of the Maryland Hotel and Lodging Association, said that the hoteliers around the airport are concerned with the amount of development.
"Here you are looking at good-sized properties coming in very quickly," she said. "When you get 1,000 rooms quickly, that puts a lot of pressure on the rest of the hotels in the area."
The hotels, new prototypes from parent company Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., will be designed specifically to serve markets that lack many full-service hotels.
"There's a pent-up demand for upper, upscale accommodations," said Bill Linehan, vice president of marketing and brand alignment for Starwood.
The hotels plan to cater to business travelers and will include 7,300 square feet of meeting space in the Westin and 4,600-square feet of meeting space in the Sheraton.
Both will have high-speed wireless Internet access in all public areas and flat-screen televisions and high-speed Internet access in all guest rooms.
"We don't have a whole lot of full-service business hotels, very upscale business hotels with all the latest amenities," Badger, of the county's economic development corporation, said. "We've got a good variety of hotels, but these will be state-of-the-art business hotels."
Sun staff writer Jamie Smith Hopkins contributed to this article.
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