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The $130 million Radisson Blu at Mall of America to Receive $40.3 million
 in Tax-free Bonds from the Economic Stimulus Bill

By Jackie Crosby, Star Tribune, MinneapolisMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

September 22, 2010 --The mystery is solved about the luxury hotel slated to anchor the south side of the Mall of America, with the help of some federal stimulus money.

Carlson Hotels of Minnetonka said Wednesday it will team with Mortenson Development Inc. to build a $130 million Radisson Blu on the site between Macy's and Bloomingdale's.

It will be the first hotel to be connected to the mall via skyway and only the second Radisson Blu. Carlson plans to open the first in Chicago in the fall of 2011 as part of a $1.5 billion plan to update existing hotels and build five "upper upscale" hotels in major U.S. cities.

Construction on the Radisson Blu is set to begin in December and open in late 2012, according to an announcement. The project is expected to create about 250 full-time construction jobs and about 240 hotel jobs.

"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 the Mall of America annually," said Thorsten Kirschke, global chief operating officer of Carlson Hotels, in a statement. "It is an international billboard for distinct global brands, as is Radisson Blu."

The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners voted in August to give the Bloomington Port Authority the right to issue $40.3 million in tax-free bonds to help build the then-unnamed hotel. The bonds were part of temporary financing creating by the 2009 economic stimulus bill, with revenue from the hotel to be used to repay the financing.

The Radisson Blu at the Mall of America in Bloomington will have a restaurant and lounge, spa and fitness center, meeting space and an indoor pool.

Jackie Crosby --612-673-7335


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