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Construction Firm Still Aims to Finish Hilton Bayfront in December

On May 22, three days after a massive explosion at the Hilton Bayfront hotel site injured 13 workers , three of them critically , an executive of Hensel Phelps Construction Co. released a statement saying it expected to complete the $350 million, 30-story property on the original target date.

Cuyler McGinley, district operations manager for Hensel Phelps, the contractor, wasn’t specific about the completion date, but the company has said that it would be able to deliver the property to the owner, Hilton Hotels Corp., in December.

The project, under construction on downtown’s waterfront, is deemed the missing piece in the puzzle needed to supply enough hotel rooms to attract simultaneous large-scale events to the San Diego Convention Center.

Steve Johnson, vice president of public affairs for the Convention Center Corp., which sells space in and operates the 2.6 million-square-foot facility, said he’d not heard of any need to change room reservations from the nearby Hilton Bayfront to other properties in connection with events that had already been scheduled.

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McGinley said that engineers have determined that the building is structurally sound.

Construction of the original project is expected to be phased in with some workers back on the job starting the week of May 26, while full production should resume the following week. A separate construction crew will focus solely on the repair and reconstruction of the floors affected by the blast, he added.

The exact cause of the blast was still unknown, and the mechanical room on the building’s fifth floor, where fire officials had pinpointed a natural gas leak as partly to blame, had been protected and secured to allow investigators access to make a full determination, he said.

On May 21, Hilton Hotels issued a statement saying that the explosion caused $5 million in damage.

, Connie Lewis

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