Hilton Columbus Downtown Marks Milestone In Its Construction Schedule With Traditional “Topping Out” Ceremony

Distinctive Green Metal Tree Created By Local Ironwork Designer Perched On Top Of Building Offers A New Twist On Time-Honored Construction Ceremony 14 Stories Above Ohio’s Capital City

This information originated in American English.

October 18, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Today representatives from Franklin County, City of Columbus, Turner Construction Company, Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority, Hilton Worldwide, community leaders and other hotel project supporters celebrated the "topping out" of the $140 million Hilton Columbus Downtown scheduled to open in fall 2012. The convention headquarters property will be located on the west side of High Street directly adjacent to the SMG-managed Greater Columbus Convention Center and Nationwide Arena.

In recognition of Hilton Columbus Downtown reaching its highest point in construction, the topping out ceremony was attended by Franklin County Commissioners Marilyn Brown, Paula Brooks and John O'Grady, Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman; Kyle Rooney, vice president and general manager for Turner Construction Company's Columbus office, John S. Christie, chairman of the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority, Bill Jennison, executive director, Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority and Christian Coffin, general manager, Hilton Columbus Downtown.

"Hilton Columbus Downtown is a structure designed to fit into the diverse growing downtown of Columbus," stated John S. Christie, chairman, Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority. "It is a building that connects the Short North Arts District to the ever-expanding Arena District. The project is on time and on budget, based on great coordination between the owner, architect, construction manager and the Hilton organization. It will be a showcase for downtown."

"Today marks an important milestone in long-standing relationship between Hilton and the City of Columbus and our distinguished business partners involved in this monumental project," said Christian Coffin, general manager, Hilton Columbus Downtown. "We are honored that Hilton was selected as the hotel partner for this project to provide additional rooms to help meet the city's growing demand for convention business at the state, regional and national level," Coffin added. "For today's topping out ceremony, we wanted to do something different. Since the hotel features a striking contemporary design, we asked a local ironwork designer to create a green metal tree and give it a more modern re-interpretation."

The project is a collaboration between the Franklin County Commissioners, Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority, City of Columbus and Nationwide Realty Investors, Inc. Hilton Worldwide manages the hotel and provides day-to-day operations support including sales, marketing and customer service.

"We are working to make Columbus a best-in-class destination for national conventions and events, and this hotel is a cornerstone to attract millions of new visitors each year to enjoy our restaurants, shopping, arts and sports," said Mayor Michael B. Coleman. "Visitor spending has a major local impact and I cannot wait to welcome all that new business when these doors open during our bicentennial in 2012," added Mayor Coleman.

"Given the size and scope of the new Hilton Columbus Downtown, we truly can step up to a new level of competition for events, conventions, sports and trade shows," stated County Commissioner Marilyn Brown. "This industry represents some 60,000 jobs in Franklin County and this is just the sort of new economic development that we want to keep growing for our future," Commissioner Brown added.

The hotel topping out ceremony marks a time-honored construction custom dating back more than one thousand years. With its Scandinavian origins, local superstition held that it was necessary to appease the gods and ancestral spirits living in the trees that were cut and used in building structures. In modern times, once the top story of a structure is completed, a live evergreen is hoisted to the top of the building. For the building's topping out ceremony, a new twist on an old tradition was created. A distinctive green metal tree designed by local ornamental iron designer, Dan Fortin of Fortin Ironworks, will be positioned next to a traditional evergreen on top of the 14th floor's I-beam framework.

"Construction is progressing on schedule and we are optimistic that the hotel will be completed on its anticipated opening date in the fall of 2012," said Kyle Rooney, vice president and general manager for Turner Construction Company's Columbus office.

"With the addition of the Hilton Columbus Downtown, Columbus can now offer multiple downtown-headquarter hotel opportunities to more than one convention or trade show at a time, as well as meet the needs of our existing annual business that continues to grow each year," said Bill Jennison, executive director, Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority. "The additional rooms and meeting space the Hilton Columbus Downtown brings, significantly strengthens our product offering in the global market allowing us to host larger national conventions and trade shows within the 1.7 million-square-foot Greater Columbus Convention Center," Jennison added.

Mark Ricci
Hilton Worldwide
(212) 261-5836

Julia Hansen
Hilton Columbus Downtown
(614) 384-8604

Susan Vosper
Turner Construction Company
(614) 781-8550

About Hilton Columbus Downtown
Located in the heart of the city's downtown core, on the west side of High Street and connected to the SMG-managed Greater Columbus Convention Center and Nationwide Arena, Hilton Columbus Downtown is scheduled to open in the fall of 2012. The 532-room, 48-suite convention center hotel will feature 22,800 square feet of meeting space, including a 12,000 square foot ballroom, and boast a 160-seat full-service restaurant, 100-seat lounge, specialty coffee outlet and Executive Lounge. The hotel is connected to the Greater Columbus Convention Center via a glass-enclosed walkway. Hilton Columbus Downtown will be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified when completed. For additional information on Hilton Columbus Downtown, please contact the pre-opening office at 614) 384-8604.

About Turner Construction Company
Turner Construction Company has been serving Ohio clients for over 100 years, and offers a network of four regional office locations in Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Toledo. Turner's managed construction in Ohio was over $800 million for 2010.

Turner Construction Company is the leading general builder in the U.S., ranking first or second in the major segments of the building construction field. During 2010, Turner Construction Company completed $8 billion of construction. Turner Construction Company is the only builder offering clients a nationwide network of offices across the U.S. Founded in 1902, the firm is a subsidiary of HOCHTIEF, a publicly traded company and one of the world's leading international construction service providers. For more information, visit Turner's website at www.turnerconstruction.com.

About Hilton Hotels & Resorts

For nearly a century, Hilton Hotels & Resorts has been proudly welcoming the world's travelers. With more than 575 hotels across six continents, Hilton Hotels & Resorts provides the foundation for memorable travel experiences and values every guest who walks through its doors. As the flagship brand of Hilton, Hilton Hotels & Resorts continues to set the standard for hospitality, providing new product innovations and services to meet guests' evolving needs. Hilton Hotels & Resorts is a part of the award-winning Hilton Honors program. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose nearly any combination of Points and money to book a stay, an exclusive member discount that can’t be found anywhere else, free standard Wi-Fi, and digital amenities like digital check-in with room selection and Digital Key (select locations), available exclusively through the industry-leading Hilton Honors app. Begin your journey at www.hilton.com and learn more about the brand by visiting news.hilton.com or following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About Hilton

Hilton (NYSE: HLT) is a leading global hospitality company, with a portfolio of 14 world-class brands comprising more than 5,300 properties with more than 863,000 rooms, in 106 countries and territories. Hilton is dedicated to fulfilling its mission to be the world’s most hospitable company by delivering exceptional experiences – every hotel, every guest, every time. The company's portfolio includes Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Canopy by Hilton, Curio Collection by Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton by Hilton, Tru by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton and Hilton Grand Vacations. The company also manages an award-winning customer loyalty program, Hilton Honors. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose exactly how many Points to combine with money, an exclusive member discount that can’t be found anywhere else, and free standard Wi-Fi. Visit newsroom.hilton.com for more information and connect with Hilton on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube.