Accor to Break Ground for Philadelphia Hotel

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PHILADELPHIA -- Paris-based Accor has added its name to the growing list of lodging companies that will open hotels here the next few years.

Accor announced it will convert Philadelphia's former Stock Exchange building on the northwest corner of 17th and Sansom streets into a luxury Sofitel-brand hotel.

Construction is scheduled to start before the end of the year on the 300-room, 13-story Hotel Sofitel Philadelphia; the hotel is set to open in 2000.

Accor said it paid $5.5 million for the building but did not disclose the construction cost.

Accor has been looking for a location in Philadelphia during the past two years, John Lehodey, president of Accor Business and Leisure Hotels, North America, said.

"Philadelphia is continuing to expand its position as a key business and tourist destination, so the time is right for us to bring a Sofitel here," Lehodey said.

He said the hotel will target business travelers and groups in search of meeting space.

Plans for the hotel include a brasserie-style restaurant and a French-style bakery and pastry shop.

It was not immediately known how much meeting space the hotel would have.

Accor joins the approximately 21 hotels with more than 3,000 rooms either in the planning stages or under construction downtown, according to the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association.

Accor North America manages Sofitel hotels in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, San Francisco and Washington.

Construction is scheduled to begin on a hotel in New York later this year.

The $90 million Sofitel New York will be Accor's second property there; it also manages the Novotel on Broadway at 51st Street.

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