A new hotel in downtown Reading has been cleared for construction.
Ground is set to be broken Friday on the DoubleTree Hotel in the 700 block of Penn Street, across from the Santander Arena, according to a spokeswoman for Al Boscov, who has been instrumental in development of the project.
Plans in the works for the past several years have called for an eight-story hotel and convention center complex to be built on the vacant lot adjacent to the city's newest parking garage, a 927-space structure that already happens to be named the DoubleTree Garage.
The original goal when the project was announced in 2008 was for the hotel to open in October 2009, but various funding issues delayed the project numerous times over the years.
The state and federal governments have committed millions of dollars to the $50 million project, which has been led by Boscov, chairman and CEO of the Boscov's department store chain.
Boscov has also been instrumental in construction of the DoubleTree Garage and development of Entertainment Square at North 2nd and Washington streets, which includes the the GoggleWorks, the Reading Movies 11 and IMAX theater complex, and the GoggleWorks Apartments.
The downtown location would be the first for DoubleTree in Berks County. The chain is part of the Hilton Worldwide company, which does have a presence in Berks through its Hampton and Homewood Suites brands.