Trump says DC hotel will be among best
WASHINGTON - Donald Trump has big plans for the Old Post Office building, a historic structure in downtown Washington that he's pledging to transform into the city's most luxurious hotel. As for the White House, four blocks away? He's not saying.
The real estate mogul and reality TV star was all business in his visit to the nation's capital last week for a ceremonial groundbreaking outside the 115-year-old building, shaking hands, posing for pictures with gold-plated shovels and praising Democratic political leaders for their cooperation.
The Old Post Office is on Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and the Capitol. Its 315-foot clock tower is the third-tallest structure in the District of Columbia, trailing only the Washington Monument and a Roman Catholic basilica, and it offers rare panoramic views of downtown.
Built to house the U.S. Post Office Department headquarters, the Romanesque Revival building has been underutilized in recent years, housing small vendors that catered mostly to tourists. The Trump Organization won a $200 million contract with the federal government to turn it into a luxury hotel with 270 guest rooms and suites, restaurants, retail and a 13,000-square-foot ballroom. Trump hopes the renovation will be finished in mid-2016, before the next presidential election.
College Football Hall of Fame opening Aug. 23
ATLANTA - The new College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta will open on Aug. 23.
The opening of the 94,000- square-foot facility was timed to coincide with two games at the Georgia Dome to begin the college football season: Mississippi vs. Boise State on Aug. 28, followed two days later by Alabama vs. West Virginia.
The hall was previously located in South Bend, Ind., but was plagued by poor attendance. Five years ago, the National Football Foundation announced a deal to move it to Atlanta, on a site near the Georgia Dome and overlooking Centennial Olympic Park.
Also, the foundation announced a lead sponsor for the facility, which will be known officially as the College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience.
Atlanta Cyclorama painting to move
ATLANTA - Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed says the massive Atlanta Cyclorama painting, which has been on display in Grant Park for the past century, will be moved to the Atlanta History Center in the city's Buckhead area.
Reed announced the move last week, saying it will take two years to complete and also will involve extensive restoration work.
The 128-year-old painting depicts the Battle of Atlanta during the American Civil War.
The mayor said the painting will be housed in a new 23,000-square-foot addition to be constructed at the Atlanta History Center.
The painting, which dates to 1885, has been shown in Grant Park since 1893 and was moved to its present building in the park in 1921.
A description from the Atlanta Cyclorama says the painting weighs more than 10,000 pounds and has a 358-foot circumference.
Alaska sets record for number of visitors
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Alaska has set a record for the number of tourists visiting the nation's northernmost state.
The State Division of Economic Development in a release says Alaska had 1.96 million visitors between May 1, 2013, and April 30, 2014.
That beats the previous mark by 5,000 visitors set during the 2007-08 year.
There were 1.8 million visitors last year.
Commerce Commissioner Susan Bell attributes the increase to increased cruise ship calls in Alaska, and new national and international air service routes. The state also instituted an advertising campaign aimed at winter travelers.