by Michael J. Shapiro | June 17, 2015
Downtown Philadelphia's long-awaited property from Starwood Hotels & Resorts is a go, according to the hotel company. Starwood is beginning construction of a dual-branded W and Element in a 51-story skyscraper directly across from City Hall, within walking distance of the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The 295-room W Philadelphia and 460-room Element Philadelphia are scheduled to open in early 2018.

"This exciting project will bring two popular Starwood brands to Philadelphia and provide much needed inventory to the city and convention Center," said Philadelphia's Mayor Michael A. Nutter. "The construction and operations of the new development will also have a significant economic impact on the city and the surrounding region, creating numerous immediate and long-term jobs and generating substantial tax revenues."

The first-ever dual-branded W and Element brings a combined 755 rooms to the district, a potential headquarters hotel that local officials have long been seeking to complement the $786 million expansion of the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The W, which will have its entrance on Chestnut Street, promises a signature W Living Room lobby experience, with a full bar, a VIP room and a 150-seat restaurant. Other amenities include a 2,900-square-foot spa, a 1,400-square-foot FIT gym, and a 7,000-square-foot WET outdoor terrace with a year-round heated outdoor pool and bar. The property will offer 45,000 square feet of meeting and event space.

The eco-conscious Element will have a separate entrance on Chestnut that offers elevator access to its main lobby on the second floor. That property will offer a 1,400-square-foot breakfast and lounge area, a 1,600-square-foot fitness center and 560 square feet of meeting space. Each guest room will be a studio with modular furniture, a fully equipped kitchen and a spa-inspired bathroom with rain shower. Brand amenities include free bike use, RISE breakfast and RELAX evening reception. All Element developments seek LEED certification for their respective buildings.