In late August, the Broward County Commission approved construction of a 500-room, $63 million Crown Plaza Hotel to be built adjacent to the Greater Fort Lauderdale (FL)/Broward County Convention Center. Construction begins in this month and is scheduled to open in time for Superbowl XXXIII in 1999, which will take place in South Florida. Of note: this is the first major hotel to be built by an African-American developer.

Crowne Plaza is also moving in to the fast-growing city of Elgin, IL. About 15 minutes from O'Hare Airport, the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Chicago-Elgin will offer 243 guest rooms, 28 of which will be especially designed for business travelers, and 10,000 square feet of meeting space when it opens late next year.

In Jacksonville, FL, the Prime Osborn Convention Center will soon have a headquarters hotel. A public-private venture to build a 400-room Interstate Hotel has been approved by the city council. The 22-story hotel is expected to open in late 1999.

Hilton Hotels Corporation broke ground in September on a 600-room property at Boston's Logan International Airport. When the $100 million Logan Airport Hilton and Towers opens in fall 1999, the ten-story property will offer 30,000 square feet of meeting space.

In January, Omni Hotels opens the 360-room Omni New Haven (CT) Hotel at Yale. With 22 meeting rooms and a 9,200-square-foot ballroom, the downtown property will host conferences of up to 500 persons.

In other news from Omni, San Francisco's 1927 Financial Center Building, vacant since 1990, will be transformed over the next two years into the Omni San Francisco Hotel. Located on one of the city's main cablecar lines and within walking distance of Union Square and Chinatown, the new luxury property will offer 360 rooms and 15,000 square feet of meeting space.

Another historic building is being transformed into a hotel in Louisville, KY. Here, the YWCA on the city's Fourth Avenue corridor is under construction to open as a 300-room luxury hotel by the end of 1998. The redevelopment company is Sage Hospitality Resources; management has not been selected, but Marriott and Hilton are among the hotel companies interested in the project.