Construction has begun on the $143 million Charlotte Westin, a 700-room hotel that will be located across from the Charlotte Convention Center. Developed and owned by Atlanta-based Portman Holdings, the hotel is scheduled to be completed in late 2002.

According to Portman Holdings, the Charlotte Westin is one of the largest hotel projects to obtain financing in the past 10 years. The hotel is being financed with $75 million in construction loans from Wachovia Bank, the Bank of Nova Scotia, BB&T Corp. and First Union Bank. In addition, $25 million will be obtained though a bond issue supported by parking payments from the city of Charlotte, and the remainder will be financed by Portman Holdings and a grant from the city.

Portman Holdings, which has been a part of redevelopment efforts in Atlanta, San Francisco and Shanghai, expects the hotel to be a catalyst for the city's expanding convention business, and a gateway between the city's uptown business district and the entertainment district on the south side. The hotel will feature 46,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, an outdoor cafe, a health spa and an indoor pool. The design allows for the future addition of an office building.