Construction Begins on Radisson Blu Hotel at MOA

Mortenson on Thursday began construction of Carlson's $137.5 million, 500-room Radisson Blu Hotel, which will be connected to the Mall of America by skyway.

Construction began Thursday on the $137.5 million, 500-room Radisson Blu Hotel at the Mall of America, the second Radisson Blu hotel in the United States.

Minnetonka-based Carlson and Golden Valley-based Mortenson Construction together own the hotel, which is expected to open in March 2013. Mortenson is the developer and general contractor, and Carlson subsidiary Carlson Hotels has a 40-year management contract to manage the hotel.

A Carlson spokesperson reached by phone on Friday afternoon would not disclose the ownership breakdown between the two companies but said that it was close to equal.

The 13-story hotel aligns with Carlson's goal to expand its portfolio to at least 1,500 hotels by 2015 and invest up to $1.5 billion in North American Radisson hotels-an initiative that Carlson announced in March 2010.

According to Carlson, the hotel will be the first one connected to the mall via skyway, and it will be located between Macy's and Bloomingdale's on the south side of the mall.

The hotel will include recreational facilities with a full-service spa, a fitness facility, and an indoor swimming pool. Conference facilities will include more than 22,500 square feet of meeting and event space, encompassing two ballrooms. The hotel will also feature FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar.

“We are thrilled that we were able to make this project a reality, despite the very difficult financial market conditions of the past several years,” David Mortenson, executive vice president of Mortenson Construction, said in a statement. “This important achievement underscores the strength and experience of the team and our commitment to getting the job done.”

The Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel in Chicago, the first Radisson Blu in the United States, is scheduled to open in November.

Last fall, the Hennepin County Board approved $40.3 million in tax-exempt bonds for the hotel project. The bonds, which the Bloomington Port Authority requested for the Mall of America hotel project, were allocated under a provision in the 2009 federal stimulus bill.

Carlson, which operates hotel, marketing, restaurant, and travel subsidiaries, is Minnesota's third-largest private company based on revenue, which totaled an estimated $3.9 billion in 2009.

Mortenson is the state's eighth-largest private company based on revenue, which totaled $2.39 billion in 2009.