Fayette County

Radisson hotel will be a Hilton

The Radisson Plaza Hotel in downtown Lexington will soon become a Hilton hotel, the owners of the 367-room facility said Friday.

Interstate Hotels & Resorts said it has formed a joint venture with an affiliate of Madison W Properties Inc. that will lead to a $13 million renovation of the complex built by The Webb Companies in 1982.

Webb, a Lexington-based developer and property manager, will continue as a partner in the venture.

Woodford Webb, a partner in Webb Companies, said Radisson is no longer operating the hotel, which is now called the Lexington Downtown Hotel & Conference Center.

It will retain that name until renovations are completed and Hilton's name goes on the property.

A more exact schedule of the changes will be determined in the next few weeks, Webb said.

Hilton's current Lexington property, the Hilton Suites at Lexington Green, will not be affected by the changes downtown, Webb said.

Rich Johnston, general manager of the former Radisson, said the agreement with the Radisson Hotel Corp. was terminated Friday.

“The hotel has been associated with Radisson since 1982,” he said. “It was a very amicable parting of the ways.”

In addition to renovating the hotel's guest rooms, Johnston said public spaces and the hotel's catering area will be updated. The changes are still in the design stage.

A starting date for the work has not been determined, but Johnston said he expects the makeover will be completed in 2009.

“It is extensive renovation,” he said. “Anyone entering the hotel will see dramatic differences.”

Across the street, the Hyatt Regency is undergoing a $16 million face lift that's due to be completed sometime this year.

Bill Owen, president and general manager of the Lexington Center, said having two quality hotels within walking distance is a “big issue” in attracting conventions.

“This should position us to build some excellent groundwork to attract new conventions to the Lexington Center,” he said.

The current managers of the Radisson will stay with the new hotel, Johnston said. Interstate has managed the hotel since about 2000.