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421 Days ago

Grand Opening Celebration Marks Award-Winning Hotel/Convention Center's 10-Year Anniversary; Economic Catalyst Redefines Historic Lancaster City Skyline

LANCASTER, Pa., Aug. 30, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --

A ceremonial ribbon-cutting marked the formal opening of the new East Tower of the Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square. Developers Penn Square Partners and High Real Estate Group LLC took the opportunity to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the opening of the full-service hotel and convention center, as well as the newly refurbished rooms and amenities in the original or West Tower.

With a 12-story, soaring glass façade topped by a sophisticated rooftop bar, the new East Tower at the Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square and Lancaster County Convention Center rolls out a spectacular venue to welcome visitors of the Red Rose City’s historic district. The $39.4 million expansion and refurbishment project adds 117 guest rooms, equipped with advanced amenities, and a signature Marriott M Club Lounge. This development could only be executed by a team of developers, designers and investors committed to preserving Lancaster’s quaint charm while boldly asserting its claim as a burgeoning mecca for tourism, dining and business investment.

Led by Penn Square Partners and High Real Estate Group LLC, the team includes architect Cooper Carry Inc., general contractor High Construction Company, and owner the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Lancaster. They deliver a capstone befitting the Marriott and Convention Center which has been a catalyst for more than $1 billion in economic development since its doors first opened in June 2009. Located at the intersection of King and Queen Streets – “the heart of the heart” of downtown Lancaster - the hotel and Convention Center celebrates 10 years of exceeding expectations for revenue and usage.

“This project gave others the confidence to make a significant investment in Lancaster City,” said Mark Fitzgerald, President & COO, High Real Estate Group LLC. “It dared us to think big. And now, this hotel will be recognized as one of the best in the Marriott chain. So, we can think bigger and we can be bolder as we imagine to create Lancaster’s future.” 


With a total of 416 guest rooms and providing more than 250 direct jobs, the Lancaster Marriott and Convention Center fuels a resurgent downtown that has attracted 150 new businesses and more than 200,000 annual Convention Center attendees.* The economic impact of the project annually is profound, delivering $34 million in Lancaster City and $27 million in Lancaster County. Equally impressive, the Convention Center and hotel development has helped ignite a red-hot downtown dining, arts and cultural scene.
*HVS Economic Impact Study – Lancaster Convention Center (Dec. 2018)

“We caught a wave. We caught a wave of people wanting to be in this city,” said Tom Smithgall, senior vice president, High Real Estate Group LLC. “With the Marriott and Convention Center, we provided a place for the community and tourists to visit.  The economic catalyst that occurred with the public and private investment was the spark that was needed to fuel future investment.”


The 87,000 square-foot East Tower expansion capitalizes on the exciting downtown vibe and food fervor with two new restaurants; Plough, located at street level, features an open kitchen and modern-American menu, and The Exchange, a sleek rooftop bar, presents sharable plates and inventive cocktails with panoramic views of the city and beyond. 

“Lancaster is gaining national attention for its vibrant restaurants with cuisine that centers on farm-fresh foods sourced here in the fertile heartland of Pennsylvania,” noted Josh Nowak, director of sales & marketing, Lancaster Marriott. ”We’re located around the corner from the nation’s oldest working farmers market and our chefs routinely incorporate their regional ingredients into our daily dishes.”


The Marriott and Lancaster Convention Center is a transformative regional asset that reflects the pride of place embodied by the community’s residents. The facility’s public-private partners adhered proudly to a set of Guiding Principles that ensure the project preserves and sustains Lancaster’s rich heritage, historic sites and the city’s inherent livability. In recognition of that commitment to stewardship and smart growth, the Urban Land Institute Philadelphia bestowed on the project its inaugural Willard G. “Bill” Rouse Award in 2014.

“Our development philosophy is collaborative. We take the time to really listen to the community as we develop our strategy,” explained High Real Estate Group’s Fitzgerald. “We look for the tough projects. We don’t back away from them. We look for projects that help to reshape, define and enhance the communities where we operate in such a way that when we’re done, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.”

With the East Tower complete, the beautification of the Marriott’s existing West Tower also is accomplished. As demand for exhibition space grows, the Convention Center is well-positioned to double its existing 50,000 square feet of floor space and capture more of the nation’s convention, leisure and business traveler market.

The Marriott at Penn Square and Convention Center, the crown jewel of Lancaster’s sparkling downtown, will welcome those visitors with the warmth of a Red Rose City embrace.

To learn more about the hotel, visit www.MarriottLancaster.com or follow the hotel on social media at @LancasterMarriott (Facebook), @LancasterMarriottPennSquare (Instagram) or @LCCCMarriott (Twitter). For more information on the Convention Center, visit www.LancasterConventionCenter.com.


The Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square is owned by the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Lancaster and leased to Penn Square Partners, the private company that holds the Marriott franchise. The Lancaster County Convention Center is a publicly owned entity under the direction of the Lancaster County Convention Center Authority.

Interstate Hotels and Resorts, which operates the Lancaster County Convention Center and Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square, is a leading global third-party hotel management company. For more information about Interstate Hotels & Resorts, visit the company’s website at www.interstatehotels.com.


Penn Square Partners consists of general partners Penn Square General Corp., a High Real Estate Group LLC affiliate, and Penn Square Ltd. LLD, an affiliate of Lancaster Newspapers Inc.


Interstate Hotels & Resorts is a leading, global third-party hotel management company, operating branded full service, select service, luxury hotels, destination resorts, convention centers and lifestyle hotels. Currently, Interstate’s global portfolio represents 605 properties in 15 countries inclusive of a committed pipeline of hotels under construction or development around the world. The company’s experienced operators, industry-leading platforms and extensive management capabilities produce exceptional guest experiences and optimal returns for hotel owners and investors.


High Real Estate Group is a full-service real estate organization providing expertise in development, brokerage, architecture, construction, and investments, and holds real estate assets with an estimated market value of approximately $1 billion. Through its affiliate, High Associates Ltd., High also offers a full complement of real estate services including asset and property management, development services, appraisal services, grounds and property maintenance, strategic planning, and consulting. The company manages more than 9 million square feet of office, industrial, multi-family, hotel and retail properties throughout the eastern United States. High Real Estate Group is family-owned, and based in Greenfield Corporate Center, East Lampeter Township, Lancaster, Pa. More information is available at www.HighRealEstateGroup.com or 1-800-638-4414.

(Photo captions)

1. The Lancaster Marriott and Lancaster County Convention Center is an economic catalyst in historic downtown Lancaster, Pa. The gleaming new 12-story East Tower, featuring a street-level restaurant and spectacular rooftop bar, appears to the left and the newly refurbished West Tower shines on the right. 
2. High Real Estate Group LLC celebrated the opening of the new Lancaster Marriott East Tower and the renovation of the West Tower in a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony. Left to right: Mike Shirk, CEO, the High companies; Kevin Molloy, Executive Director, Lancaster County Convention Center Authority (LCCCA); Mark Fitzgerald, President and COO, High Real Estate Group LLC (HREG); The Honorable Gib Armstrong, PA State Senate 13th district (retired); The Honorable Danene Sorace, Mayor, City of Lancaster; Tom Smithgall, Senior Vice President - Development, HREG; Shane Zimmerman, EVP & Treasurer, Steinman Communications; The Honorable Mike Sturla, PA House of Representatives 96th district; Sharon Nelson, Board Chair, LCCCA; and S. Dale High, Chair Emeritus, the High companies.


Dave Nicholas
High Companies

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