THE HOTEL AS SHOWROOM

Pyramid Companies, the largest privately owned developer of shopping malls in the United States, wants to build a unique, futuristic 39-story hotel with 1,342 rooms, in Pyramid's home base of Syracuse. Estimated cost: $450 million. Financing: To come.

The Emerald 5 ShowTel and Conference Center would be part of Destiny USA, Pyramid Companies' “commerce, culture and community” complex under construction (without the use of fossil fuels) on the site of a former brownfield on the shore of Onondaga Lake in Syracuse, a key city in central New York, according to David Aitken, a Destiny USA spokesman.

What sets Emerald 5 ShowTel apart from other hotels is its economic foundation and its environmental orientation. The hotel aims to be a showcase of the latest in technological and environmental products. It would be a “test facility for various technology companies where you have the ability to plug your brand in and receive real-time feedback,” Aitken says. Hotel guests could buy anything in the guestroom, which would be replenished “through strategic alliances with brand partners, many of whom will have their brands represented in other areas of the complex,” Aitken says.

In November, Robert Congel, who founded Pyramid 40 years ago and spearheaded development of the retail-entertainment complex Carousel Center at the heart of Destiny USA, presented the Emerald 5 ShowTel concept at the United States Green Building Conference. The project has been designed to meet the highest Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards.

“We released the Emerald 5 ShowTel at the green building conference for a reason,” Aitken says. “Number one, it is designed to be a first-class experience and an environmentally friendly environment with a holistic approach to design, construction and operation.” It would integrate with about 2.5 million square feet of entertainment, dining and shopping available at Carousel Center, which opened in 1990.

“When you're taking a look at creating a destination, you have the ability to have the hospitality experience be a draw unto itself,” Aitken says. The hotel could “draw its own audience by being branded as part” of Destiny USA. Syracuse is within a day's drive of 130 million people, he says. “This is a facility that's focused on innovation and providing the consumer with what I refer to as experiential fun.”

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