Forrestal Hotel Sold

Lockheed’s Deal

PPPL: From Donut to Sphere

EchoCath’s New Heart Technology

Financial Moves

Crosstown Moves

Leaving Town


Corrections or additions?

These articles by Peter J. Mladineo and Barbara Fox were published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on

May 13, 1998. All rights reserved.

Life in the Fast Lane

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Forrestal Hotel Sold

Three years after Jorgen Roed sold his flagship Scanticon

conference center, it will be sold again, to CapStar Hotels, the third

owner in three years. If the purchase price is close to $60 million,

as has been suggested, the current owners will have nearly doubled

their money. The Amstar Group and Circa Hotel purchased the conference

facility in 1995 for $23 million plus $10 million in renovations.

Based in Washington, D.C., CapStar plans to spend $1.5 million to

update the Gratella restaurant and add additional phone lines to the

guest rooms. It is uncertain whether Benchmark Hospitality will continue

managing the 290-room hotel, because CapStar specializes in hotel


CapStar is a $1.7 billion firm that trades as CHO on the New York

Stock Exchange, owns 56 hotels, and manages 87 hotels in 30 states,

two Canadian provinces, and the Caribbean. It is the nation’s largest

franchisee of Hiltons, Sheratons, and Westins.

Paul Whetsell, CapStar’s chairman and CEO, worked his way up through

the industry from a job as a front desk clerk. He founded the firm

as a management company in 1988, used a $50 million bankroll from

Acadia Partners to buy 12 hotels in 1995, and went public in August

1996, while still managing an additional two dozen hotels. CapStar

will merge with American General Hospitality Corp., a $1.4 billion

Dallas-based real estate investment trust.

It focuses most of its business on the coasts, plus in Texas and Chicago,

and it aims to be in larger urban centers "where the barriers

to new competition are the highest," says David McCaslin, chief

operating officer. "The Forrestal is our first conference center

and its proximity to New York and Philadelphia as well as to corporate

headquarters make it an ideal location."

Amstar bought Forrestal "at a time when there was limited interest

in the hotel market, whereas today there is great appeal in the investment

market," says Kevin Mahoney, a senior investment manager for Amstar.

The proof is in the pudding. These new hotels are being added to the

Princeton market: A Homestead Village has received preliminary approval

for building 92 rooms north of QuakerBridge Mall on Route 1 North.

Extended Stay America is expected to open a 129-room hotel on Route

1 North at Raymond Road, opposite the Marriott’s Residence Inn in

early fall. Marriott’s 153-room Courtyard is being built at Route

1 South on Mapleton Road, on the site of what had been a Holiday Inn.

The Marriott may eventually add 100 rooms. Four more hotels —

for a possible total of 20 on Route 1 — have submitted plans for


"It wasn’t difficult to get a lot of interest in the property

and they were the ones in the end in the winning position," adds

Mahoney. "The market is very good if you’re a seller. If you’re

a buyer you need to be careful — because of the prices that are

being paid."

The Forrestal Hotel and Conference Center, 100

College Road East, Princeton 08540. Gerard Dumont, general manager.

609-452-7800; fax, 609-452-2523.

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Lockheed’s Deal

GMH Associates Inc. has bought Lockheed Martin’s satellite

manufacturing plant an Princeton-Hightstown Road for $12 million and

will convert it into an office park. After Lockheed finishes its last

two satellites here, it will transfer or lay off the remaining 250

workers and vacate 300,000 square feet of high-bay manufacturing space.

GMH will demolish that part of the plant but lease the 400,000 square

feet of office and laboratory space.

Based in Wayne, Pennsylvania, GMH Associates has the same owner as

the real estate company that has been trying to sell the site for

three years. As of this spring Aubrey Haines of GMH Realty, located

at Princeton Crossroads, had listed the office and laboratory space

for $20 per square foot gross, based on a minimum of 30,000 feet.

GMH is separately marketing another 70,000 square foot office- lab-manufacturing

building on Old Trenton Road.

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PPPL: From Donut to Sphere

After years of budget cuts and layoffs, the Princeton

Plasma Physics Laboratory now has refocused its vision using a new

set of goggles. A year after the closing of the beloved Tokamak Fusion

Test Reactor, which set a record in 1994 by creating 10.7 million

watts of fusion power, the PPPL is beginning construction on a smaller,

more flexible test reactor.

On Monday, May 18, at 10 a.m. the lab will break ground for a test

facility, a "cell" that will house the National Spherical

Torus Experiment (NSTX). The ceremony will also include the renaming

of the PPPL’s main office building for the late Lyman Spitzer Jr.,

the founding father of the Princeton University lab.

Speakers include Congressmen Rodney Frelinghuysen and Mike Pappas,

Princeton University president Harold Shapiro, and Doreen Spitzer,

Spitzer’s widow. A colloquium is scheduled at 2 p.m. after the dedication

and groundbreaking. Call 609-243-3553 for more information.

Both the NSTX and the TFTR have a hole in the middle, but the NSTX

is shaped like a sphere as opposed to the donut-shaped TFTR. Like

the TFTR, the NSTX will produce a plasma — an extremely hot, ionized

gas in which nuclear fusion occurs. The lab hopes that the spherical

shape will enable a higher plasma pressure to be produced in a field

with a given magnetic strength, says PPPL spokesman Anthony R. DeMeo.

Another enhancement is that, because of the reactor’s high pressure,

the NSTX will able produce a high "bootstrap" electric current,

a self-driven internal plasma current. This should significantly reduce

the amount of power needed to confine the plasma. The NSTX will cost

$23.8 million, and the components will be arriving at the lab shortly,

with construction beginning in late summer. Tests should begin by

April, 1999, and run for six or seven years.

The NSTX is a collaboration with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory,

the University of Washington at Seattle, and Columbia University.

It could potentially become "the most powerful and extensively

diagnosed" spherical torus fusion facility in the world by 2000.

So far, smaller spherical toruses — or torii, as the scientists

refer to them — have operated successfully enough to justify building

this larger spherical torus that can more thoroughly test its underlying


"What we want to do is see whether those initial results can be

exploited in a larger facility to determine if the reactor’s potential

really exists," says Richard J. Hawryluk (pronounced like "garlic"),

the PPPL’s deputy director and former head of the TFTR project.

The NSTX is a "proof-of-principle" test, which means that

the lab wants to prove the integrity of the physics behind the spherical

design. Unlike the tokamak, which used non-radioactive deuterium and

radioactive tritium, the NSTX will use only deuterium. This gives

it a higher safety factor.

Because the NSTX lacks tritium, though, it will not produce "anywhere

near" the energy produced by the TFTR, says Hawryluk. But what

the NSTX lacks in production capacity it will gain in added flexibility.

Without the radioactive elements, components of the machine will be

more easily removed for repairs and upgrades. Plus, experiments will

be able to be re-tailored in mid-stream.

If this experiment pans out, then a larger, "proof-of-performance"

experiment would be built. This next phase, still short of commercial

energy production, might even use deuterium and tritium and deliver

fusion amounts equal to the TFTR. "It would be closer to a commercial-sized

reactor," says DeMeo.

The ultimate goal of the international fusion effort is to commercially

produce energy using nuclear fusion, the power harnessed by stars.

Founded in 1951, Princeton’s fusion laboratory existed for its first

six years as a classified military experiment known as Project Matterhorn.

Spitzer, who died in 1997, was director until 1961 and was involved

with the PPPL until 1967.

Spitzer is also credited with the 1946 proposal for the development

of a large space telescope that eventually resulted in the launch

of the Hubble Space Telescope in 1990. It seems that some proposals

take longer than others to bear fruit.

— Peter J. Mladineo

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EchoCath’s New Heart Technology

Another Princeton area company making progress in heart

health is EchoCath. In a press release dated Friday, May 8, the Route

1 North-based medical device manufacturer announced that the efficacy

of its blood-flow measurement system, EchoFlow, had been validated

in pre-clinical tests at the University of Louisville.

EchoFlow is a tool to aid cardiovascular surgery: a sensor is placed

on the surface of an artery where blood-flow velocity measurements

are taken and data about blockages in the artery can be collected.

"The surgeons can use this to explore along the surfaces of an

artery to choose where best to place the attachment of the bypass,

the anastomosis," says Frank A. DeBernardis, the president and

CEO of EchoCath. "Secondly after you’ve done anastomosis and made

the bypass into an artery it helps to assess the procedure.

He suggests that the device could be used on several types of arteries

and could also help to perform dialysis access grafts, as well as

other applications. "One possibility is to make this into an implantable

sensor so it could be a long-term monitor of the performance of bypass

procedures of arteries," he says.

The system was successfully tested on a carotid artery at Mt. Sinai

Hospital. The test at the University of Louisville saw the sensor

placed on a coronary artery of a beating heart. The positive results

will allow EchoCath to receive roughly $315,000 in product development

funding per a licensing agreement with Medtronic, a Minneapolis-based

partner. "This is multifaceted," says DeBernardis. "It’s

a core platform technology. What we’ve demonstrated is an epivascular


EchoCath Inc., 4326 Route 1 North, Princeton 08543-7224.

609-987-8400; fax, 609-987-1019. E-mail:

Stock symbol: ECHTA

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Financial Moves

Chase Field LLC, 47 Hulfish Street, Suite 330,

Princeton 08540. 609-430-9526; fax, 609-430-9529. E-mail:

Venture capitalist Peter Travers opened an office in the Gallup building

on Hulfish Street in February.

Financial Planning Analysts Inc., 182 Tamarack

Circle, Skillman 08558. Lewis S. Arno, president. 609-497-1414; fax,


Lewis Arno moved his financial planning firm from 5 Vaughn Drive.

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Crosstown Moves

Cancer Care Inc., 353 Nassau Street, Princeton

08540. Kathy Larkin LCSW. 609-924-8752; fax, 973-379-1082. Home


This nonprofit agency moved from Herrontown Road to Nassau Street

in April. It provides aid for cancer patients and their families,

and also has a location at 241 Millburn Avenue, Millburn 07041.

Cancer Care’s services include counseling; financial disbursements

for child care, home care, and housekeeping; transportation to chemotherapy

and radiation treatment; and pain medications.

Rhodes Educational Counseling, 353 Nassau Street,

Princeton 08540. Daphne M. Rhodes, president. 609-683-0232; fax, 215-295-7199.


Daphne Rhodes moved her independent school and college admission counseling

service from 1000 Herrontown Road.

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Leaving Town

Hoechst Marion Roussel, 6 Neshaminy Interplex,

Suite 110, Trevose, PA 19053. 215-633-8227; fax, 215-633-8257.

The regional sales office for the pharmaceutical manufacturer has

moved from Forrestal Village, and Mark Miles is now the regional director.

Priority Systems, 134 Franklin Corner Road, Lawrenceville

08648. 800-222-0811; fax, 732-563-1773.

This employee assistance counseling office has closed and calls are

being taken at Greenspring EAP, 8 Wood Hollow Road, Suite 200, Parsippany


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Declared guilty: on two counts of criminal sexual contact,

Edward McGinnis, formerly a physical therapist on Brunswick Pike.

In a case involving five female patients the jury acquitted McGinnis

on six counts and deadlocked on 10.

Sentenced: Developer Eric R. Keller, to 10 years of probation

for charges including third-degree theft of $102,771 from a Gallup/Laughlin

family firm; defrauding of Princeton Capital Credit Partners by failing

to return $26,250 of escrow; and for passing bad checks totaling more

than $15,000. The plea bargain includes 500 hours of community service

and restitution of monies.

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