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BENNETT HOSPITALITY BREAKS GROUND ON $101 MILLION MARION SQUARE HOTEL PROJECT

CHARLESTON, S.C., April 27, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Bennett Hospitality, along with Charleston community leaders, officials and guests today celebrated the groundbreaking of Bennett's $101 million hotel project at King Street and Marion Square.

The project, years in the making, will be among the Holy City's most significant hotel developments ever.

The more than 200,000 square-foot, eight-story luxury hotel will feature 185 upscale guest rooms and a grand lobby entrance off King Street. A bi-level, fine-dining restaurant overlooking Charleston's most famed green space and a separate full bar and lounge area will be among the hotel's amenities. Additionally, a rooftop pool with cabanas and bar will be open to patrons, along with a full-service spa. Meeting space – some of it rooftop – and a ballroom will also be available.

"I purchased this property 21 years ago. I worked on this hotel for twelve years to get all of the entitlements required," said Michael Bennett, founder and owner of Bennett Hospitality. "Beautiful limestone, marble, bronze and copper. It will be built the way they built buildings 100 years ago. It will be built to last. A luxury hotel in the best location in the best city in the world. Mayor Riley always said to take the 100 year view. If it should be here in 100 years, then build it. And we took the 100 year view and never looked back."

The project will produce an estimated 350 jobs in Charleston and is expected to be completed in 28 months.

Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr., an integral supporter of the hotel for nearly a decade, spoke at today's groundbreaking.

"The new hotel at King Street on Marion Square being developed by Michael Bennett will be a stunningly beautiful building. It will enhance our city," Riley said. "This full-service hotel will become an important part of the civic and community life of Charleston as it will host many special occasions, weddings, anniversaries, community events, and more. It will additionally become a nationally acclaimed hotel. Visitors from all over our country and around the world will enjoy staying here."

With Charleston's booming travel and tourism business, the project is poised to become an iconic part of the city's landscape that will continue to enhance the area's reputation as a world-class travel destination.

"We are thrilled that Bennett Hospitality is developing a beautiful full-service hotel on this important site," said Helen Hill, Executive Director of the Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. "This property will be a wonderful complement to Charleston's reputation for gracious hospitality and fine accommodations, and will make us even more desirable as a leisure and meeting destination."

Balfour Beatty Construction, the second-largest hotel contractor in the U.S., is serving as the project's developer.

"We are honored to be part of the hotel at Marion Square, an iconic project for the city of Charleston, and to have the opportunity to work with the great team of visionaries at Bennett Hospitality," said Pat Dean, Carolinas division President, Balfour Beatty Construction. "This is a wonderful, transformational development that will allow us to expand upon our strong portfolio of high-end hospitality projects."

About Bennett Hospitality

Founded as the Bennett Hofford Company in1983, Bennett Hospitality is today one of the largest locally- owned development companies in Charleston, S.C. The company is a multi-faceted, full-service real estate and development company, as well as a hospitality, restaurant, and asset management company. The company owns 16 hotels, 8 restaurants in four states. Projects are developed, constructed and managed in this framework and range from award-winning resort developments to the redesign and redevelopment of two city blocks, including six restaurants, a 1000-seat music hall and two hotels in downtown Charleston, to hotels all over the Charleston area, as well as Montana, Georgia & Florida.

Media Contact for Rawle Murdy:
Daniel Brock
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A photo accompanying this release is available at: http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=32416

CONTACT: Marty Wall mwall@bennetthospitality.com 843.722.8169, ext. 237Source: Bennett Hospitality