New I-95 Welcome Center Travel Plaza To Open in 2010

Newark – The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) signed a contract with HMSHost Corporation to redevelop and operate a new service plaza and welcome center on I-95, with construction to begin in spring 2009.

HMSHost, a world leader in travel venue dining and shopping, was selected through a competitive public procurement process. The company will spend about $35 million to finance, design and construct a facility that will serve the needs of I-95 travelers now and decades from now. In addition, over the life of the 35-year contract, HMS will provide ongoing private capital investment of $21 million, and minimum annual revenue guarantees of $1.6 million to go to the Transportation Trust Fund, which can only be used on statewide transportation improvements.

There are no state capital funds being expended on this significant project, and future maintenance of the facility also resides with HMS. DelDOT will remain owners of the property, located between the Exit 1 (Rt. 896) and Exit 3 (Rt. 273), and will remain an active partner with HMS to ensure a well-maintained facility.

The new Center will include a main facility of approximately 43,000 square feet, and a gas facility of 4,200 square feet, including a convenience store, 21 fuel pumps and will also include high-speed diesel fuel dispensers. The main facility will incorporate many elements of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards in design and construction. Energy and water conservation equipment and fixtures will be used throughout the facility in conjunction with local stone and recycled materials.

Demolition of the current plaza will begin in spring 2009, and last for about 15 months. HMS will pay temporary rental payment to DelDOT during construction of $170,000 per month for 15 months. Approximately 250 jobs will be created throughout the renovation timeframe. When complete, the new welcome center will employ 175 HMSHost associates.

DelDOT Secretary Carolann Wicks said, "Our goal was to create a facility that meets or exceeds the needs of the traveling public by providing essential travel services that lead to increased safety on our roadways, while showcasing all that our great state has to offer. This new facility has been a long time coming and is a result of HMSHost and all our partners working with us to ensure we are receiving the best investment possible for Delaware residents and the traveling public."

Other highlights include: DelDOT will work closely with the Delaware Economic Development Office, the Wilmington Convention & Visitors Bureau and other state and local tourism agencies to create a new Delaware State Visitor Center, within the Welcome Center. The Visitor Center will provide information on local and statewide attractions, events and activities.

An upgrade to the entire parking lot to include a new truck parking area, a new Sunoco gas service station and an A Plus Convenience Store. This site will be environmentally friendly with the addition of 50 spaces of Cabaire truck parking with anti-idle hookups.

One of the retail stores will be "Postcards from Delaware," home to regional Delaware products that highlight the state’s distinctive history, heritage and culture.

Other brand name food outlets and retailers will include: Baja Fresh, Z Market, Starbucks, Burger King, Brioche Doree, Cinnabon/Carvel and Famous Famiglia Pizza.

The site includes some space reserved for the future construction of a hydrogen fueling station. Should hydrogen or other alternative motor fuels become more prevalent in the marketplace, Delaware will be well situated to meet the market demands.

"Now, more than ever, it’s important to create a service stop that makes the traveler’s day better. We believe the new Delaware Welcome Center will be a destination stop in travel plans, representing DelDOT’s vision of transforming the Interstate 95 corridor,” said Michael Jones, Vice President of Business Development, HMSHost. “A new on-site Delaware State Visitor Center has been created in partnership with the Delaware tourism community to further enhance the I-95 travel experience."

About HMSHost, HMSHost is a world leader in creating shopping and dining for travel venues. The Company has won international recognition for its original concepts, creative store designs, and outstanding customer service. Operating more than 100 motorway travel plazas throughout North America, HMSHost has annual sales in excess of $2.6 billion and employs more than 33,000 sales associates worldwide. A part of Autogrill S.p.A, HMSHost and the rest of the Autogrill Group are recognized leaders in travel restaurants and retail. With sales exceeding €4.8 billion, Autogrill is present in 42 countries with more than 5,300 points of sale in more than 1,200 locations (including 216 airports and 704 motorways) where 68,000 employees serve over 890 million customers every year. Visit @link href='http://www.HMSHost.com'target="_black">www.HMSHost.com/link for more information

Darrel Cole, Director
dot-public-relations@state.de.us
DELDot

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