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Grand Opening celebration marks award-winning Hotel/Convention Center’s 10-Year Anniversary

Economic catalyst redefines historic Lancaster City skyline

With a 12-story, soaring glass-windowed façade topped by a sophisticated rooftop bar, the new East Tower at the Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square and Lancaster County Convention Center rolls out an exquisite welcome mat to visitors of the Red Rose City’s historic district. The $39.4 million expansion and refurbishment project adds 110 guest rooms, equipped with advanced amenities, and a signature Marriott M Club Lounge. It could only be executed by a team of developers, designers and investors committed to preserving Lancaster’s quaint charm while boldly asserting its claim as a burgeoning mecca for tourism, dining and business investment. 

Led by Penn Square Partners and High Real Estate Group LLC, the team includes architect Cooper Carry Inc., general contractor High Construction Company, and owner the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Lancaster. They deliver a capstone befitting the Marriott and Convention Center which has been a catalyst for more than $1 billion in economic development since its doors first opened in June 2009. Located at the intersection of King and Queen Streets – “the heart of the heart” of downtown Lancaster - the hotel and Convention Center celebrates 10 years of exceeding expectations for revenue and usage.

“This project gave others the confidence to make a significant investment in Lancaster City,” said Mark Fitzgerald, President & COO, High Real Estate Group LLC. “It dared us to think big. And now, our hotel is recognized as one of the best in the Marriott chain. So, we can think bigger and we can be bolder as we imagine and create Lancaster’s future.”


With a total of 416 guest rooms and providing more than 250 direct jobs, the Lancaster Marriott and Convention Center fuels a resurgent local economy that has attracted 150 new businesses downtown and more than 200,000 annual Convention Center attendees.* The economic impact of the project annually is profound, delivering $34.6 million on Lancaster City and $26.9 million in Lancaster County. Equally impressive, the Convention Center and hotel development has helped ignite a red-hot downtown dining, arts, and cultural scene.
*HVS Economic Impact Study – Lancaster Convention Center (Dec. 2018)

“We caught a wave. We caught a wave of people wanting to be in this city,” said Tom Smithgall, senior vice president, High Real Estate Group LLC. “With the Marriott and Convention Center, we provided a place to be, and that economic catalyst that occurred with the public and private investment was the spark that was needed.”


The 87,000 square-foot East Tower expansion capitalizes on the pulsing downtown vibe and food fervor with two new restaurants; Plough, located at street level, features an open kitchen and modern-American menu, and The Exchange, a sleek rooftop bar, presents sharable plates and inventive cocktails amidst panoramic views of the city and beyond.

“Lancaster is gaining national attention for its vibrant restaurants with cuisine that centers on farm-fresh foods sourced here in the fertile heartland of Pennsylvania,” noted Josh Nowak, director of sales & marketing, Lancaster Marriott. ”We’re located around the corner from the nation’s oldest working farmers market and our chefs routinely incorporate their regional ingredients into our daily dishes.”


The Marriott and Lancaster Convention Center is a transformative regional asset that reflects the pride of place embodied by the community’s residents. The facility’s public-private partners adhere proudly to a set of Guiding Principles that ensure the project preserves and sustains Lancaster’s rich heritage, historic sites, and the city’s inherent livability. In recognition of that commitment to stewardship and smart growth, the Urban Land Institute Philadelphia bestowed on the project its inaugural Willard G. “Bill” Rouse Award in 2014.

“Our development philosophy is collaborative which means we take the time to really listen to the community,” explained High Real Estate Group’s Fitzgerald. “We look for the tough projects. We don’t back away from them. We look for projects that help to reshape, define and enhance the communities where we operate in such a way that when we’re done, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.”

With the East Tower complete, the beautification of the Marriott’s existing West Tower is underway. As demand for exhibition space grows, the Convention Center is well-positioned to double its existing 50,000 square feet of floor space and capture more of the nation’s convention, leisure and business traveler market.

The Marriott at Penn Square and Convention Center, the crown jewel of Lancaster’s sparkling downtown, will welcome those visitors with the warmth of a Red Rose City embrace.

To learn more about the hotel, visit or follow the hotel on social media at @LancasterMarriott (Facebook), @LancasterMarriottPennSquare (Instagram) or @LCCCMarriott (Twitter). For more information on the Convention Center, visit

The Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square is owned by the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Lancaster and leased to Penn Square Partners, the private company that holds the Marriott franchise. The Lancaster County Convention Center is a publicly owned entity under the direction of the Lancaster County Convention Center Authority.

Interstate Hotels and Resorts, which operates the Lancaster County Convention Center and Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square, is a leading global third-party hotel management company. For more information about Interstate Hotels & Resorts, visit the company’s website at


Penn Square Partners consists of general partners Penn Square General Corp., a High Real Estate Group LLC affiliate, and Penn Square Ltd. LLD, an affiliate of Lancaster Newspapers Inc.


Interstate Hotels & Resorts is a leading, global third-party hotel management company, operating branded full service, select service, luxury hotels, destination resorts, convention centers and lifestyle hotels. Currently, Interstate’s global portfolio represents 605 properties in 15 countries inclusive of a committed pipeline of hotels under construction or development around the world. The company’s experienced operators, industry-leading platforms and extensive management capabilities produce exceptional guest experiences and optimal returns for hotel owners and investors.

Renovated Lancaster Marriott with East Tower and Plough, image from Interstate
August 30, 2019
The new 12-story Lancaster Marriott East Tower is pictured at left