June 06, 2007
The Culinary Workers Union Local 226 in Las Vegas has agreed with MGM Mirage and Harrah's Entertainment to extend its current contract, due to expire May 31, indefinitely, as negotiations for a new agreement continue. The Culinary Workers Union, a UNITE HERE member, represents between 50,000 and 60,000 food-service employees, cooks, housekeepers, bellmen and other workers at some of the largest properties on the Las Vegas Strip and elsewhere in Nevada. The union is seeking increases in wages and benefits, as well as protections for union organizing efforts.

Owners of the foundering Bayside Expo Center and surrounding land in Dorchester, Mass., announced plans last week to shutter the center and redevelop the 30-acre site as a $1 billion residential, office and retail development. A spokesperson for the owners, Corcoran Jennison Companies, said in a statement that Bayside "will continue to host gate shows and trade shows for the next several years until the development plan is approved by state and local officials." The expo center has been surviving primarily on consumer shows, a category of event that had been banned from the publicly subsidized Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in an effort to protect Bayside. Last summer, the state legislature lifted the ban, and Bayside has been losing business steadily ever since.

Ground was broken Friday on a 1,001-room hotel/condominium tower adjacent to the Los Angeles Convention Center. As part of the L.A. Live project -- a 27-acre sports, entertainment and residential district -- the 54-story high-rise will feature the 878-room JW Marriott, the 123-room Ritz-Carlton Hotel and 224-unit Ritz-Carlton Residence at L.A. Live. All three properties are scheduled to open in early 2010.

Seven developers have offered up plans to build a headquarters hotel and more around the Tucson (Ariz.) Convention Center. Top brands like Gaylord, Hilton, InterContinental and Sheraton are in the mix. The city manager's office has selected a five-member team to narrow the field of bids that will receive the RFP. While the presence of Gaylord on the list has stirred the most reaction, according to Jaret Barr, assistant to Tucson's city manager, "I wouldn't gauge them as very interested, just curious," he said. The current plan is to go to the city council by September with recommendations. One group might be ready to break ground next year -- they're already in the design phase -- but Barr doesn't expect construction to start until 2009.

A 200-room Mondrian hotel is coming to Chicago, according to Morgans Hotel Group, which will operate the property on the site of the existing Cedar Hotel in the Gold Coast region of the city. Although plans are not final, Morgans said the hotel will have "significant space" for meetings, a restaurant and bar, and a fitness center.

The 169-room Royalton in New York City will close from June 10 through sometime in October for renovations. The work will revamp all public spaces, including the lobby, round bar, restaurant and guest room hallways. Additionally, the hotel's three penthouses will be refurbished. Guests who already have booked rooms at the Royalton during its closure can stay at the company's other city properties, the Morgans New York and the Hudson New York.

Starwood Capital Group has announced plans to build a "1" Hotel and Residence at Bryant Park in New York City. Launched last October, the "1" brand features luxury, eco-friendly properties. The hotel will feature a 31-story, environmentally sustainable tower. Additional "1" properties are being planned in Seattle; Scottsdale, Ariz.; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Mammoth Lakes, Calif.; Washington, D.C.; and Paris. The first to open will be the property in Seattle, scheduled for late 2008. The New York property will open during the first half of 2010.