Carlson’s Upscale Radisson Blu Hotel Coming to MOA

Construction of the 501-room hotel is slated to begin in December, and the hotel is expected to open in late 2012.

The much-anticipated luxury hotel at the Mall of America will be branded as Radisson Blu, a new concept by Carlson Hotels.

Carlson Hotels, a subsidiary of Minnetonka-based Carlson, announced Wednesday that it has signed an agreement with Minneapolis-based Mortenson Development, Inc., to develop the $130 million hotel.

The new development is part of Carlson's goal to expand its portfolio to at least 1,500 hotels by 2015.

“We identified this location as a strong investment opportunity for one of Carlson's flagship hotels in part because of the volume of U.S. and international visitors drawn to Mall of America annually,” Thorsten Kirschke, global chief operating officer of Carlson Hotels, said in a statement. “It is an international billboard for distinct global brands, as is Radisson Blu. It also presented a unique opportunity to partner with the high-end design aspirations of the mall and meet the need for additional upper-upscale hotel offerings in the market.”

Construction of the 501-room hotel is slated to begin in December, and the hotel is expected to open in late 2012. According to Carlson, it will be the first hotel connected to the mall via skyway, and it will be located between Macy's and Bloomingdale's on the south side of the mall. Amenities will include a restaurant, lounge, spa, fitness facilities, an indoor pool, and more than 23,000 square feet of meeting space.

The Radisson Blu at the Mall of America will be only the second of its kind in the United States, with the first Radisson Blu expected to open in Chicago next fall.

Last month, the Hennepin County Board approved $40.3 million in tax-exempt bonds for a hotel project at the Mall of America.

Paul Campbell, senior vice president of Mortenson Construction, told Twin Cities Business last month that Mariott was originally expected to operate the hotel, but the discussions had shifted, and either Sheraton Hotels and Resorts or Carlson Hotels would likely operate the upscale hotel.

Carlson, which operates hotel, marketing, restaurant, and travel subsidiaries, is Minnesota's third-largest private company based on its most recent fiscal-year revenue, which totaled an estimated $4.33 billion.