The Harbor Commission has entered negotiations with the London-based operators of the TraveLodge chain to build a 250-room, mid-priced hotel next to the Queensway Bay Hilton at the port.
Trusthouse Forte Inc., one of the world's largest hotel operators, is also buying the 11-year-old, 200-room Hilton, which it promises to spend at least $2.5 million on to improve.
"They said they were ready to start construction as soon as they get a building permit because they're using their own funds, and that has to be impressive," said C. Robert Langslet, commission president.
Negotiations should be complete and construction started by early next year, he said. Hotel proposals for the seven-acre site northeast of the Queen Mary have fallen through for a decade, he said.