Hampton Inn Brickell

New Hampton Inn & Suites seeks to be first LEED-certified hotel

By Allie Schwartz….
Downtown Miami’s sizzling hospitality market is about to get a whole lot greener as a new Hampton Inn & Suites in the Brickell Financial District sets its sights on becoming the city’s first LEED-certified hotel.

When Hospitality Operations Inc.’s new 221-room Hampton Inn & Suites Miami Brickell-Downtown opens its doors this fall, hotel guests will notice a host of planned environmentally conscious features, ranging from charging stations for electric cars, to lights and thermostats that automatically turn off when occupants leave a room.

The “green” elements are part of the Hampton Inn & Suites’ Sustainability Initiative, which sets it on track to become Miami’s first newly constructed hotel to earn LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Beyond its sustainable features, the new Hampton Inn & Suites will stand out as downtown Miami’s newest mid-range lodging option for business and leisure travelers seeking high-quality accommodations that offer all the conveniences of an urban location without a steep price tag. The hotel is slated to become only the third Hampton Inn property worldwide to achieve the LEED distinction, a reflection of the challenges that face many hotel operators when faced with the decision to adopt “green” design principles.

“While sustainable development has become par for the course in many sectors of real estate, hotels have lagged behind due in large part to above-average energy and water use and the high volume of laundry processed daily,” said Bernard Wolfson, president of Miami-based hotel development firm Hospitality Operations Inc., South Florida’s largest Hampton Inn-brand franchisee.

“The pedestrian-friendly setting of our newest Hampton Inn & Suites property in downtown Miami’s Brickell Financial District offered an ideal platform for embracing “green” features throughout the project. This commitment to sustainable design will have a triple impact — preserving natural resources, appealing to eco-conscious travelers, and reducing our operating costs.”

The Hampton Inn & Suites project, which is likely to attain LEED Silver certification in early 2012, will incorporate the following sustainable elements:

• A 35,000-gallon cistern to harvest rainwater to be used in public restrooms, for irrigation purposes and for washing down exterior decking and walkways.

• An in-room energy management system which will power down air conditioning system when guests are not in their rooms.

• Preferred parking spaces for hybrid and electric cars, with charging stations for electric vehicles.

• An ozone laundry system designed to reduce the consumption of water, energy and cleaning chemicals.

• Energy Star-qualified compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and LED lighting that will lower energy consumption by 18 percent.

• Low-flow water fixtures, dual flush toilets, and motion-activated faucets will reduce water usage by more than 40 percent, equating to an estimated 500,000 gallons of savings annually.

• Occupancy sensors to control lights in public places and work areas.

• Biodegradable recycled plastic room key cards.

• Environmentally safe, non-toxic cleaning agents for housekeeping staff.

• Bicycle racks, showers and changing facilities for employees who choose to bike and walk to work.

“Some hotels may overlook environmentally conscious design in favor of guest conveniences and total cost savings, but we believe all are achievable,” said Brian Lomel, principal of TLC Engineering, which is serving as the LEED consultant for the new construction project.

“The new Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown Miami-Brickell is bridging the gap between sustainability and affordability, and the result will likely be a positive guest experience,” Lomel said. “Once the hotel becomes Miami’s first to earn LEED certification next year, we should experience a welcome shift toward ‘green’ design in the South Florida hospitality market. This development has the potential to be a market maker.”

In addition to its environmentally friendly design and construction features, the Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown Miami-Brickell is located centrally within walking distance to several public transit options, including the Metromover and Metrorail systems. April 2012 will see the debut of AirportLink, a 2.4-mile extension of the Metrorail system to Miami International Airport. The hotel’s location within walking distance to dozens of retail, restaurant and entertainment options creates a pedestrian-friendly atmosphere.

Construction of the 15-story Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown Miami-Brickell, located at 50 SW 12 St., began in mid-2010 and topped-off in early 2011. The hotel will employ roughly 75. Property features will include a rooftop pool, full-service bar, exercise room, business center, 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space, a 210-space parking garage, and 3,500 square feet of meeting space.

Guests will enjoy free hot breakfast daily and complimentary wireless Internet. Breaking out of the midrange hotel “mold,” the property will feature modern, upscale interior design, original artwork by local artists, and sleek patterns and colors that evoke Miami’s hip persona.

Learn more online at www.hamptoninnmiamibrickell.com.

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