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Fenty giddy as Magic Johnson, local officials reopen Hilton

While his encounters with presidents and world leaders have been special moments in his life, D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty smiled like a little kid as he talked about sharing the stage with Earvin Magic Johnson at the Washington Hilton on Tuesday.

FentyMagic.jpg"With all do respect between the president, Queen Elizabeth and the pope, it doesn't get any better than Magic Johnson," said Mayor Fenty, just before he, Johnson and a host of local officials rolled out the red carpet to the Washington Hilton hotel to mark its reopening after $150 million in renovations. "A private -sector restoration is huge and takes your breath away."

Three years ago Johnson's firm -- Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds -- and Lowe Enterprises teamed up with Hilton to launch the renovation project, which included guest rooms, common areas, a ballroom complex and exhibition spaces.

The three-year project included refurbishing more than 1,000 rooms and banquet hall facilities and building a new 30,000 square foot multipurpose area called Columbia Hall. In addition the hotel will feature private areas for VIPs to check their e-mails and have meetings out of public view.

The cavernous hall felt more like a locker room as Johnson stood in the middle of a group of Hilton employees and praised their efforts over the last three years. "We are so proud of you. You over-delivered to the main people that count, and that is our customers. And you did it time and time again. We applaud you and say thank you."

-- Hamil R. Harris

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  May 27, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Hamil R. Harris , Mayor Fenty  
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