The Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is getting closer to securing a headquarters hotel, something the convention center has been missing since 1989. On November 1, a panel of 10, including eight county commissioners, selected Hilton Hotels Corp. over Marriott International Inc. to build a 1,000-room hotel adjacent to the convention center in a six to four vote.

Hilton’s plans call for the property to be built near the 17th Street bridge, overlooking the Intercoastal Waterway. But the company still faces some challenges before it breaks ground. The Hilton team still must negotiate with the county over such issues as ground rent, financing, site plans, and construction timetables. In addition, the property will not get the green light to begin construction unless the full county commission endorses the panel’s vote. The vote set to take place by February 2008.

Plans call for the hotel to include 74,000 square feet of ballroom space, with an elevated walkway joining the hotel to the convention center, according to reports in the Miami Herald. Hilton forecasts an average room rate of $224 for the property, with that number surpassing $248 a night after five years.

Hilton released a statement saying, “Hilton Hotels Corporation/Blackstone is delighted to have been given the vote of confidence from the selection committee with regards to the Broward County Convention project, … We know the importance of including as many local businesses, especially minority businesses, and fully intend to do so moving forward. Our team will focus on the recommendations the selection committee has made and incorporate those recommendations into our future plans.”

If the project is approved, Hilton will spend $298 million on the hotel, scheduled to open in mid-2011.