Representatives of Lend Lease (US) Public Partnerships, IHG Army Hotels and the Army gathered Thursday to break ground on a Candlewood Suites developed specifically for soldiers and their families.

“I’m very excited about this day,” said Lend Lease Development Manager Kate Alger. “This hotel ... will be a home away from home for military personnel and their families for years to come.”

Lend Lease assumed ownership of more than 3,200 hotel rooms across 10 Army installations in August 2009. Along with partner InterContinental Hotels Group, Lend Lease became the first developer to begin operations under the Privatization Army Lodging Program. It allows private companies to revitalize established on-post lodging facilities.

Alger said Candlewood is the right choice for Fort Hood because its extended-stay model best meets the needs of military travelers. The new 93-room hotel at Fort Hood will feature a variety of amenities, including spacious studios and one-bedroom suites, fully-equipped kitchens and large work areas in each guest room.

Col. Matthew G. Elledge, Fort Hood’s garrison commander, spoke about the peace of mind the new hotel will bring soldiers. “Soldiers don’t have to be so worried about the care of their families,” he said. “From day one, this hotel can truly set the tone for Fort Hood soldiers and Fort Hood families.”

Teresa Colatarci, general manager and regional director of operations for IHG Army Hotels, expressed the enthusiasm she and her organization have for the project.

“I spent 20 years in the military,” Colatarci said. “When my boss came up to me and asked if I wanted to be a part of this project, I said, ‘Sign me up.