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 Ira Drukier A Partner in Minneapolis' Chambers Hotel
Project; Rockwell Group Designing the Boutique
Hotel on Site of Former Fairmont Hotel Building 


MINNEAPOLIS - Sept. 2, 2004 -- RWB Development Company today announced plans to more than double the size of the Minneapolis' Chambers hotel. RWB also announced that it had selected the world-renowned architecture firm, Rockwell Group, ( as the lead designer and architect; Shea, Inc. will serve as the local architect of record.

"We had always planned to expand the hotel as part of a 'phase two' development," said Ralph Burnet, lead partner, RWB Development Co. "However, as we got further into the planning we realized it would be far less disruptive to guests, and far better financially, to do everything at once."

The hotel will now have 27 luxury suites, three more than originally planned, plus an additional 26 deluxe rooms. Its footprint will expand to include not only the former Fairmont Hotel building at 900 Hennepin Ave., but also the adjacent parking lot and ProColor building at 909 Hennepin Ave. Finished square footage will almost triple from the originally estimated 30,000 square feet to more than 85,000.

"Things for this project just keep getting bigger and better," said Ralph Burnet, general partner, RWB Development Co. "It's an incredible coup for us to be the first site that the Rockwell Group will design for the Twin Cities."

Rockwell is the design firm behind such critically acclaimed sites as the Kodak Theater, Hollywood, Calif., home of the Academy Awards, W New York and W Union Square hotels, in New York City, Nobu restaurants in New York and Las Vegas, Coors Field, Denver, and Chambers' sister hotel in New York City.

With the expanded plans, the opening for the hotel is now expected to open sometime in early 2006. As a result, it will no longer be the new home for La Belle Vie. Owners, Josh Thoma and Tim McKee have opted out of the project and will seek an alternative site for the restaurant.

"Chambers is going to be a great hotel and we're looking forward to the business it will bring to our end of Hennepin Avenue," said Thoma referring to their other restaurant, Solera, located opposite the new hotel site. "However, with the changes and delays it is simply no longer the right fit for La Belle Vie."

With the new construction and revised opening date, RWB Development does not anticipate finalizing new plans for foodservice and hospitality until sometime in 2005.

About Chambers, Minneapolis

Like its critically acclaimed sister hotel in New York City, the Minneapolis Chambers will be a small, intimate, luxury hotel featuring highly personalized service, contemporary fine art and fine quality cuisine. One of the most distinctive features of the boutique hotel will be a collection of contemporary art displayed throughout its public spaces and individual suites. The sister hotel in New York features more than 500 pieces of original art, including a minimum of four original artworks in each room.

Ira Drukier, internationally recognized for leading the boutique hotel movement is a partner in the new venture and will manage the new hotel's operations. Drukier, and his company, BD hotels, also operate the Chambers and Mercer Hotels in New York City, two of the most visible boutique hotel operations in the country.

Jacqueline Hanson
Also See: Actor Robert De Niro's Luxury Hotel in Tribeca Neighborhood of NYC Obtains $38.9 million in Tax-free Liberty Bonds / November 2003
Le Méridien Minneapolis, First Fully Integrated Art + Tech Hotel in the U.S.; 255 Rooms Feature 42-inch Plasma TV Screens, General Manager is Robert Bormes / Nov 2002

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