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Cleveland's newest hotel on time, on budget

Posted: 6:42 PM, Sep 30, 2015
Updated: 2015-09-30 22:42:49Z

The biggest obstacle facing those behind the construction of the new Cleveland Hilton Convention Center has been the wind.

During the winter, winds can reach over 40 mph, forcing the big construction crane atop the 32 story hotel to shut down.

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So it was somewhat fitting that when it came time for the topping off ceremony, the signed beam with traditional flag and evergreen was unable to be hoisted because of the wind.

"Weather is reminding us today that it still can be an issue," said Project Managing Consultant Jeff Appelbaum. "But we are over the difficult weather."

"If you look up at the top of the building you see not only is the building topped out, but it's almost fully enclosed," said Appelbaum who pointed out the project is on time for a June 1, 2016 opening, and just as important, on budget.

The project was on the tightest of deadlines with former County Executive Ed FitzGerald's decision to move out of the County Administration Building before their new headquarters was finished serving as the linchpin for the project's speedy path.

"If we didn't have this project we would not have the RNC," said Cleveland Council President Kevin Kelley.

When Cleveland made it's bid for the RNC, the hole was still being dug as Cleveland made its pitch on the promise that it would be ready.

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In the meantime, Hilton management is beginning the process of hiring a staff, mostly sales people fielding requests and inquiries about the hotel.

"The heavy hiring will be April of 2016, but we're going to start with more hiring here over the next few months going forward so we're selling like crazy," said Hilton General Manager Teri Agosta who added the hotel is already looking beyond the RNC.

"This is a springboard. I mean we have a group coming in the day after the convention," Agosta said. "We will be booked for the first year, every month we have what we call a whale which is a huge city wide [convention]. Everyplace we go people are clamoring about Cleveland and they just want a piece of this new booming city. We're so excited."

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