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Posted on September 22, 2011

View highlights of the groundbreaking ceremony.

President Angelo Armenti, Jr. calls a new hotel in California Borough a “true win-win” for both the Washington County business community and Cal U.

President Armenti, a member of the Redevelopment Authority of Washington County, joined state legislators, county commissioners, authority members, local officials and members of the business community at groundbreaking ceremonies for a Hampton Inn and Suites hotel at California Technology Park, about 2 miles from the Cal U campus.

“I have no doubt that this hotel will make a positive impact on our University — and that Cal U will be a driving factor in filling rooms at the Hampton Inn and Suites,” the President said.

The families of prospective and current students will appreciate being able to find lodgings so close to the school, he said.

“The project is especially welcome as the University prepares to open the Cal U Convocation Center and expand its executive conferencing services. Having a hotel within a few minutes’ drive from the Convocation Center certainly will add to its appeal.”

The 4-story, 84-room hotel will be built on a 5-acre parcel in the technology park, off Malden Road near the Cal-Ed Credit Union building. It will include 3,000 square feet of banquet space. Total cost is estimated at $10.2 million.

Bill McGowen, executive director of the redevelopment authority, noted that a separate restaurant also may be added at the technology park.

Also speaking at the groundbreaking were representatives of California Hotel Associates Inc., a partnership that includes Summit Development and a management team from AVI FoodSystems Inc.

AVI, a family-owned business based in Warren, Ohio, provides dining services at Cal U and more than 600 other locations.

“AVI’s relationship with Cal U has value beyond business,” said the company’s president and CEO, Anthony Payiavlas. Acknowledging President Armenti as a mentor, he thanked the California-area community “for allowing my family the privilege and honor of becoming part of your family.”

Construction of the hotel is expected to be complete in fall 2012.

Cal U alumni were among the government officials who spoke at the ceremony. Lawrence Maggi ’79, chairman of the Washington County Board of Commissioners, praised the cooperation between borough, county, state and federal government that resulted in funding for the project. State Rep. Peter J. Daley II ’72, ’75 described the decades-long process of turning the former farmland into a thriving industrial park. Both are members of the University’s Council of Trustees.

Also addressing the audience were county commissioners Bracken Burns and Diana Irey Vaughan, and state Sen. Richard Kasunic. The Rev. Jana Quisenberry provided the invocation and benediction, the Mon Valley Leathernecks presented the colors, and Cal U singing groups Acappella Stella and Vulcanize provided music, including an a cappella version of “Hotel California.”

“Adding appropriate infrastructure and well-planned amenities can only make Washington County a better place to live, to work, to learn and to visit,” President Armenti said.

“I look forward to working hand in hand with the borough, county’s business community, and with California Hotel Associates to make this hotel a true ‘win-win.’”

Click "play" below to view highlights of the groundbreaking ceremony.