Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) today announced the debut of Le Méridien Columbus, The Joseph, adding this cosmopolitan Midwest city to Le Méridien brand’s rapidly expanding global portfolio. Owned by The Pizzuti Companies and operated by Wischermann Partners, the new build 10-story hotel will offer 135 modern rooms with all of the Paris-born brand’s signature amenities and services. Located in the Short North Arts District, the city’s cultural center, Le Méridien Columbus is slated to open in early 2015, and today’s ground-breaking ceremony, attended by representatives from Pizzuti, Starwood, and Wischermann Partners, marked the start of construction for not only Le Méridien Columbus but also the office and retail building and parking garage that make up Pizzuti’s The Joseph mixed-use development project. “The uptick of Le Méridien hotel deals we’re seeing underscores the success of the brand’s recent repositioning and its popularity among cosmopolitan travelers,” said Allison Reid, Senior Vice President of North America Development, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. “We are delighted to partner with The Pizzuti Companies and expand our relationship with Wischermann Partners as we work together to bring this contemporary design-led brand to Columbus.” Le Méridien Columbus will feature a full-service restaurant, signature bar, two deluxe spa suites, and 1,200 square foot 24-hour fitness center. The hotel will be equipped with nearly 8,000 square feet of state-of-the-art meeting and event space, perfect for social occasions and business functions. “Le Méridien Columbus, The Joseph is an exciting addition to Columbus and the Short North Arts District,” said Joel S. Pizzuti, president of The Pizzuti Companies. “As part of our overall Joseph development, which also includes a mix of office, retail, parking and art exhibition space, the new Le Méridien hotel will further establish the Short North as the place to be in Columbus.” Le Méridien Columbus, The Joseph will feature a two-story signature Le Méridien Hub™ experience, which re-interprets the traditional lobby into a social gathering place for creative people to converse, debate, and exchange. The Le Méridien Columbus Hub will offer both guests and locals a creative atmosphere where contemporary, curated artwork from the famed Pizzuti Collection will set the environment. Le Méridien Hub further builds on the brand’s award-winning arrival experience and coffee culture. Le Méridien arrival consists of four elements: large-scale artwork in high impact areas to reset the mind and stimulate dialogue and curiosity; the sensory experience, illustrated through Le Méridien signature scent, sound and use of light, creating a unique and distinctive atmosphere; UNLOCK ART™ programme, featuring LM100 ™ artist designed key card collections that not only offer access to the guestroom but also to Le Méridien affiliated contemporary cultural centers in the city; and a 24-hour curated soundtrack.