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Benchmark Hospitality Hosts Ribbon
Cutting Celebration for The Heldrich
New Brunswick, New Jersey, March 1, 2007 ... Benchmark Hospitality International, the operator of the hotel and conference center at The Heldrich, the new $120 million mixed use property located at 10 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, New Jersey, hosted a ribbon cutting celebration today.   The event was followed by tours of the public spaces, including the sophisticated reception lobby, elegant ballrooms, state-of-the-art conference center with an 80-seat amphitheater and 21 meeting rooms, luxurious guestrooms, and Christopher's Restaurant & Bar.  The property will formally open to the public on March 9.

"We are thrilled to cut the ribbon and celebrate the completion of The Heldrich," said Jeff Farina, chief development officer for Benchmark Hospitality.  "This remarkable property is the culmination of years of planning, civic leadership and the vision of John Heldrich.  It will add new vibrancy to the heart of this great city.  Benchmark is proud to be an active part of the renaissance of New Brunswick."

Officiating and offering comments at the ribbon cutting were the Honorable James Cahill, Mayor of New Brunswick; Christopher J. Paladino, President, New Brunswick Development Corporation, developer of The Heldrich; David Crabiel, Freeholder Director, Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders; Jeffrey V. Farina, Chief Development Officer, Benchmark Hospitality International; Richard McCormick, President, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; Ira Novak, Chairman, New Brunswick Development Corporation; and John J. Heldrich, the property's namesake.  
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L to R: Michael J. Taylor, General Manager, Benchmark Hospitality at The Heldrich - David Crabiel, Freeholder Director, Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders - Dr. Richard McCormick, President, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - The Honorable James Cahill, Mayor of New Brunswick - John J. Heldrich (cutting ribbon) Property's Namesake, former Johnson & Johnson Executive, and Consummate Champion of the Revitalization of New Brunswick - Christopher J. Paladino, President, New Brunswick Development Corporation - Ira Novak, Chairman, New Brunswick Development Corporation - Jeffrey V. Farina, Chief Development Officer, Benchmark Hospitality International 
.The Heldrich reflects and honors the lifelong accomplishments and civic vision of John Heldrich, one of New Jersey's most remarkable business and community leaders. Mr. Heldrich combined his career as a top executive at Johnson & Johnson, with a record of leadership and commitment to public, community, and civic service.  He was the driving force behind the successful redevelopment of New Brunswick, including The Heldrich, and eventually founded and chaired New Brunswick Tomorrow, the non-profit organization which has spearheaded the City's renewal.  

Adorning much of the public space of The Heldrich are works of original art by prominent New Jersey artists, many of whom were on hand during the event.  Also, the majority of The Heldrich's public rooms have been named for important and historic New Brunswick personages, with descendents of these individuals attending the celebration.  
 
The Heldrich
 
The Heldrich features an inviting and spacious lobby off a grand porte cochere entrance, which faces New Brunswick's restored Monument Square.  The focal point of the elegant lobby is the masterwork in glass, - The Garden of the Hesperides, by noted New Jersey artist, J Kenneth Leap, which was commissioned for the hotel.
 
The property offers 248 beautifully appointed guestrooms, including 14 spacious corner suites with stunning views of the revitalized cityscape.  At street level is Christopher's Restaurant & Bar, which overlooks Livingston Avenue and the renowned State Theatre beyond.  The urban chic Christopher's comfortably accommodates 200 guests.  Banquettes divide the room into three areas, creating spaces that accommodate small parties or larger groups for dining.  An open ceiling offers theater style lighting, adding a sense of drama to the room. 
 
Christopher's features a large show kitchen, offering patrons the opportunity to observe chefs preparing meals according to guests' preferences. The restaurant, which opens to the public on March 9 along with the hotel, will offer alfresco dining in season on a sidewalk terrace, extending the restaurant to the streetscape.  Christopher's is accessible to the public through the hotel's lobby and via a separate entrance off Livingston Avenue.  The Heldrich also provides two spacious, elegant ballrooms, which comfortably accommodate up to 500 guests, making the property ideal for social functions.  
 
The Heldrich is custom-designed for meetings and events.  The property features a state-of-the-art conference center with 25,000 square feet of functional space and Benchmark Hospitality's signature meeting concierge services. Conference facilities include an 80-seat amphitheater, a stately Boardroom, and 21 meeting rooms accommodating from 10 - 500 guests.  Wireless Internet access is available throughout.  Benchmark Hospitality International, which is based in The Woodlands, Texas near Houston, is recognized globally for its excellence in the art of hospitality and hosting corporate meetings.  
 
Additionally, The Heldrich includes 48 luxury condominiums presented by Trammell Crow www.trammellcrow.com, scheduled to open mid March.  Also available at the property will be a free-standing restaurant and wine bar, Daryl's, opening March 31; the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, at Rutgers University's Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, opening mid April; and upscale retail boutiques, opening late May.
 
Ample parking for the hotel and conference center, as well as the restaurants, event and retail spaces, is provided by a 820-car parking facility located on the block adjacent to the property, across New Street.  A 54-space underground parking facility is provided for condominium owners.
 
The Heldrich Economic Impact

The Heldrich is a strategic expansion of the New Brunswick development plan that continues the revitalization of the city's key transportation artery, George Street, and the Cultural District Redevelopment toward the Douglas / Cook Rutgers University campus. 
 
The location of The Heldrich is a triangular parcel between Livingston, George, and New Streets across from theater row, and the Rutgers Center for Arts & Planning building, housing the Mason Gross School of the Arts. The property expands earlier, enormously successful investments on New Brunswick's George Street corridor, including the State Theater, Crossroads Theater, and the new University of Medicine and Dentistry headquarters at Liberty Plaza.
 
Construction of The Heldrich resulted in more than 400 construction jobs and has created 250 + new, permanent positions at the hotel and conference center, managed by Benchmark Hospitality.  These jobs, ranging from entry-level to management positions in the retail, hospitality, and property management professions, offer competitive salaries, full benefits, paid vacations, and numerous employee incentives.
            
The completion of the project also significantly increases municipal tax ratables from the 1.8-acre parcel from less than $200,000 per year to $1,000,000 per year. 
 
The Heldrich's Fine Art Collection
 
Adorning the lobby and public spaces of The Heldrich are exceptional original works of art by internationally renowned New Jersey artists.  The artworks were commissioned, purchased or are on loan to the property.  Many of these artists were available to highlight their work during the ribbon cutting and open house.  
 
Significant commissioned pieces include 'The Garden of the Hesperides,' the signature lobby artwork by glass architect J. Kenneth Leap of Wheaton Village, and in Christopher's Bar, 'New Brunswick at Twilight, Early Fall 2006' by Tim Daly, photorealist painter from Hoboken.  Prints of Mr. Daly's work have been installed in each of the 248 guestrooms.  
 
The Heldrich has also partnered with the Brodsky Center, a division of Mason Gross at Rutgers, the Jane Vorhees Zimmerli Art Museum and the Grounds for Sculpture for changing exhibitions in gallery spaces created in the public areas of the hotel.  
 
Prints of historical architectural drawings round out The Heldrich's fine art collection.  These connect the property to the early 20th century when New Jersey architect Alexander Merchant was designing some of the signature buildings of New Brunswick.  Merchant trained under legendary New York architects John Mervin Carrère and Thomas Hastings, principals in one of the most renowned Beaux-Arts architecture firms in the United States during the late 19th / early 20th Centuries (New York Public Library). One of Merchant's signature buildings is the Elks Lodge, located across New Street from The Heldrich.
 
 The Heldrich Pay Homage to City's Historic Personages
 
Additionally, The Heldrich has paid homage to New Brunswick's rich legacy of inventors, artists and industrial greats by naming its ballrooms and event spaces after these historic personages.  
 
A sampling of these include Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877), who moved to New Brunswick in 1818 to learn the new technology of steamboats; Earle Dickson (1892-1961), a cotton buyer for Johnson & Johnson who later was credited with the invention of BAND-AID brand adhesive bandages; Frederick B. Kilmer (1841-1934), a leading chemist with Johnson & Johnson where he invented Baby Powder; internationally renowned artist George Segal (1924-2000), the famed pop art sculptor who developed a signature method of making life casts of people; James Price Johnson (1894-1955); a New Brunswick native and originator of 'The Charleston': and Mary Ellis (1750-1827), a New Brunswick folk hero whose story inspired the pop hit 'Brandy' by Looking Glass in the 1970s.
 
About The Heldrich
 
The Heldrich is located in the heart of New Jersey in New Brunswick.  The property is situated at 10 Livingston Avenue, just west of the important US Route 1 business corridor stretching from Princeton to New Brunswick and four city blocks from the News Brunswick Train Station (serving the Northeast Corridor:  Boston-New York-Philadelphia-Washington, DC) and close to Exit 9 of the NJ Turnpike.  It is 30 minutes outside New York City and has rail service to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR). 
 
The $120 million, mixed-use facility is a redevelopment project of New Brunswick Development Corporation (Devco), a nonprofit real estate development company. In addition to the hotel and conference center, the property is anchored by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, at Rutgers University's Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy.  The Heldrich represents a unique partnership among Devco, Keating Partners, Rutgers, New Jersey Department of Labor, New Jersey Redevelopment Authority, New Jersey Economic Development Authority, New Jersey Casino Redevelopment Authority, the Middlesex County Improvement Authority and the City of New Brunswick.  It is a major anchor to New Brunswick's downtown revitalization program.   
 
For more information on The Heldrich, call 732-729-4670 or visit www.theheldrich.com.   The Heldrich is operated by Benchmark Hospitality International. 
 
Benchmark Hospitality International, an independent hospitality management company based in The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, operates resorts, conference centers, hotels and condominium resorts both domestically and internationally.  For locations of Benchmark Hospitality properties and for additional information, visit Benchmark's Website at www.benchmarkhospitality.com.  

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Contact:

The Heldrich
New Brunswick, New Jersey
www.theheldrich.com
732-729-4670
    
Ken Ellens
Ken Ellens Communications 
201-758-2864 / 201-951-9511-cell
KenEllens@aol.com

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Also See: Benchmark Opens French Lick Resort Casino; $382 Million Restoration, Casino Development Project / November 2006
Benchmark Completes Restoration of Historic Donald Ross Course at French Lick Resort Casino; First of Three Championship Courses at Resort Destination to Open / September 2006

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