Despite a recession that has hit the hotel industry hard, the owners of the Sheraton International Hotel at Baltimore-Washington International Airport are pushing ahead with plans that will almost double the hotel's size.
Creative Inns Inc. of Norfolk, Va., plans to add 152 suites to the 196-room hotel, said Earle K. Shawe, a Baltimore attorney representing Creative Inns.
The suites will be designed for business travelers.
"We're going to give Maryland one of the finest airport hotels in America," said Mr. Shawe. He said the expansion will open within two years, after five years spent getting approval from state and federal regulators.
The existing hotel and the expansion will be on land that Creative Inns leases from the Maryland Aviation Administration, said Nicholas Schaus, deputy administrator of the Maryland Aviation Administration.
The owners will pay the state 7 percent of the revenue from the expanded hotel, under a deal tentatively approved last week by the state Board of Public Works.
Under the current lease, the state gets 10 percent of gross revenue from the existing hotel, he said. Both rents are subject to a minimum annual guarantee, Mr. Schaus said.
The proposed lease would last for 40 years from the opening of the expansion. When it runs out, the state would regain control of the land and also gain title to the hotel, Mr. Schaus said.
The Board of Public Works signed a letter of intent to Creative Inns, setting out the terms under which the state would agree to revise and extend the existing lease.
That was designed to make it easier for the owner to line up financing for the expansion, Mr. Schaus said.
Steven Book, general manager of the existing hotel, said the industry has been hurt by the recession, but there will be plenty of time for the economy to recover before the expanded Sheraton opens.
"If we're talking at least a two-year spread, we're talking about giving this economy a good amount of time to turn around," he said.
The design calls for the addition to be next to the existing hotel and connected by a covered walkway, according to drawings supplied by Mr. Shawe.