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
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
College Road East, Princeton 08540. Gerard Dumont, general manager.
609-452-7800; fax, 609-452-2523.
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.
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
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
609-987-8400; fax, 609-987-1019. E-mail: email@example.com.
Stock symbol: ECHTA
Princeton 08540. 609-430-9526; fax, 609-430-9529. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Venture capitalist Peter Travers opened an office in the Gallup building
on Hulfish Street in February.
Circle, Skillman 08558. Lewis S. Arno, president. 609-497-1414; fax,
Lewis Arno moved his financial planning firm from 5 Vaughn Drive.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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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