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$11.5 million renovation for Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Richmond

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The Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Richmond is about to undergo an $11.5 million dollar conversion.

Hilton Worldwide and HRI Lodging LLC said the property will be turned into a full-service Hilton Hotels & Resorts brand property by the end of 2015. That means it will gain a bunch of new amenities, including 10,000 additional square feet of meeting/event space, an enhanced 24-hour fitness center and a Hilton HHonors lounge.

The New Orleans-based owner, HRI Properties LLC, will oversee the renovation of the hotel, housed in the former Miller & Rhoads department store.

“The addition of this Richmond-based property to the Hilton portfolio marks an exciting milestone as we continue to extend Hilton’s footprint to key markets across the country,” Rob Palleschi, global head, full service brands, Hilton Worldwide, said in a statement. “With its rich history, burgeoning food scene and growing business center, we are thrilled to call Richmond home and join the fabric of this storied city.”

The historic Miller & Rhoads building was constructed between 1888 and 1909 as a one-room store and later expanded to an eight-story building in the block bound by Broad, Grace, Fifth and Sixth streets. The landmark department store closed in 1990 and reopened as a hotel and condos in early 2009.

The hotel is in a building shared by Miller & Rhoads Residences, a 133-unit residential project with 111 one- and two-bedroom apartments and condominiums.

John Cario, the property’s general manager, said the transformation will be “dramatic … with improvements including the renovation of all 250 guest rooms with high-end finishes and the offering of a sleek new tech lounge in the lobby.”

Hotel officials noted that plans are in place to continue protecting and showcasing the building’s history. “The Miller & Rhoads Memorabilia collected over the years is very special to our hotel. We have already successfully gained the necessary approval to integrate our treasures within the new design,” said Tim Stacer, director of sales & marketing for the Hilton Garden Inn.

The hotel will also keep the building’s tradition of its annual legendary “Santa Tea” which, since the 1940s, has offered children and families the opportunity to meet Santa in an ornate, magical setting. The event is held in partnership with the Children's Museum of Richmond each holiday season.

The hotel, located at 501 E. Broad St., will remain open during the renovations.

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