A veteran Hilton hotel manager has been named general manager of the publicly financed convention hotel now under construction near Oriole Park.
Linda Norman has been selected by the Baltimore Hotel Corp. to head the 757-room Hilton Baltimore Convention Center Hotel, the Baltimore Development Corp. announced yesterday.
Norman, who begins her new job in mid-August, is charged with overseeing the construction of the $230 million hotel, which is scheduled to open a year later.
Norman, who has worked for Hilton for 20 years, has been general manager of the Hilton Los Angeles/Glendale Hotel for the past three years. Previously she was general manager of the Doubletree Guest Suites-Tampa in Florida from 1996 to 2004 and assistant general manager at the Doubletree Guest Suites-New York City-Times Square.
Baltimore Hotel Corp., the nonprofit entity formed to develop and own the hotel, picked Norman after interviewing two candidates presented by hotel operator Hilton Hotels Corp. last month, according to project director Irene E. Van Sant, of the Baltimore Development Corp., the city's development arm.
Van Sant said officials were impressed by Norman's credentials and experience and were confident of her ability to manage a big hotel with about 500 employees.
"Linda was very charismatic and enthused about coming to Baltimore," Van Sant said. "She did a lot of her own research and understood what this hotel means to the region."
Baltimore officials are counting on the new hotel, at 410 W. Pratt St., to stimulate flagging business at the adjacent Baltimore Convention Center at a time of increasingly cutthroat competition.
City tourism officials have said for years that Baltimore needed a convention headquarters hotel with guaranteed room blocks available at convention rates.
Sales for the new hotel have been under way about a year, and as of June 30 about 138,000 nights had been booked, according to Van Sant. Thomas J. Noonan, president and chief executive officer of the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association, said construction is "flying up" and that the hotel is on track for a soft opening in August 2008.