Media & Public Relations

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Carl DeFebo
Manager, Media & Public Relations
Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission
(717) 920-7176
Sheila McGee, HMSHost Corp.

September 25, 2006

Pa. Turnpike, HMSHost Corp. Unveil
Details Of $100 Million Service-Plaza Makeover Plan

Five-year initiative launched at Oakmont —  First of 18 rest stops to be revamped.

OAKMONT, PA. (Sept. 25, 2006) — Officials from the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, Harrisburg, Pa., and HMSHost Corp., Bethesda, Md., today unveiled the design and other details of a new service plaza at the site of the presently closed Oakmont service station and restaurant near the Turnpike’s Allegheny Valley Interchange (Exit 48). Oakmont will be the first plaza to be expanded and modernized as part of a 5-year redevelopment plan that will also reduce the number of plazas from 21 to 18 along the 531-mile toll-road system.

“Turnpike travelers will soon see beautiful, spacious service plazas springing up across the commonwealth,” said Turnpike CEO Joe Brimmeier. “And what’s unique about the modernized facilities is not one cent of toll revenues — or any other public money — will be spent for construction. In fact, the entire project is being funded by the developer, HMSHost Corp.”

The Turnpike Commission awarded HMSHost the plaza-redevelopment contract July 28 after a competitive process that included major foodservice industry participants. Under the terms of the 30-year deal, HMSHost Corp. will invest roughly $100 million to construct, operate and maintain the food-court style eateries and accompanying convenience stores. The Turnpike expects combined gross sales at all plazas will total some $3.5 billion over the 30-year lease. The Turnpike Commission will receive a share of gross plaza receipts as rent — a rate that has been reduced in light of HMSHost’s initial outlay of redevelopment capital.

Brimmeier said the partnership with HMSHost is critical, since it allows the Turnpike Commission to concentrate spending on much-needed infrastructure improvements like total reconstruction and widening projects. “The Pennsylvania Turnpike will turn 66 years old Oct. 1, and our financial priority must be rebuilding and expanding the road,” Brimmeier said. “This agreement allows the Commission to focus our resources on vital highway improvements while at the same time providing bigger and better service plazas to our travelers.”

The service plazas — some of which first opened in 1940 — have all been remodeled and expanded over the years, starting in the 1970s. The Commission determined the plazas can no longer efficiently serve the needs of today’s travelers, considering the toll-road system is now used by more than 190 million vehicles per year.

Under the agreement, HMSHost will revitalize the travel plazas with new, larger buildings that will house updated, more varied food and merchandise offerings. “Visitors will experience a special blend of the best national and regional restaurants as well as exciting retail designs and products,” said Brian Gallant, senior vice president of motorway operations for HMSHost. “They can also expect a food court with natural, ambient lighting, full-service convenience stores, and larger restrooms with increased lighting and touch-free technology.”

The buildings have been designed by a Pennsylvania architect and reflect architectural elements common to the Keystone State. In addition, many of the food offerings include Pennsylvania-based firms.

“The Pennsylvania Turnpike will have something to satisfy everyone’s taste and make their travel experience more enjoyable,” Gallant said. “Besides the familiar brands already known to Pennsylvania Turnpike travelers — Starbucks, Burger King, Sbarro, Roy Rogers and Hershey’s Ice Cream — the Pennsylvania motorway will be the first in the country to feature top restaurant and Pennsylvania-based brands.”

New brands making their way into the Turnpike’s service plazas include The Doggery, Philly Steak & Gyro, Bassett’s Original Turkey, Famous Famiglia, Chick-fil-A, and Brioche Doree Café & Bakery, as well as Chili’s Too and Outback Outpost, featuring their popular appetizers, burgers, salads and sandwiches.

Other plaza improvements will include outdoor dining areas, landscaped grounds with pet walking paths, and state-of-the-industry technology and security systems.

The redevelopment will be phased in over the next five years so as not to disrupt service to customers. Four more plazas (Allentown, Valley Forge, Sideling Hill and North Somerset) will be closed for an eight- to nine -month period beginning September 2007. Thereafter, the Turnpike and HMSHost will close, on average, four more service plazas a year for remodeling, with overall project completion in 2011. In all cases, the plan is to begin construction after Labor Day and reopen the new plazas before the following Memorial Day.

Three of the Turnpike’s 21 plazas will be eliminated as part of the redevelopment. The Hempfield Service Plaza, Hempfield Twp., Westmoreland Co., will close this winter. Two plazas in Bensalem Twp., Bucks Co. — North Neshaminy and South Neshaminy — will close in late 2007 or early 2008.

Fuel services are being negotiated under a separate contract. The Turnpike anticipates an announcement by year’s end on the contract for gasoline sales.

“The Commission and HMSHost have enjoyed a long affiliation servicing travelers on the Pennsylvania Turnpike,” Brimmeier said. “We look forward to continuing our relationship with HMSHost, and we appreciate their financial commitment to our plaza-redevelopment project.”

Oakmont originally opened for business Dec. 26, 1951 — the day the 67-mile “Western Extension” opened to traffic stretching the toll road’s western terminus from Irwin, Pa. to the Ohio border. Formerly called “lunchrooms,” the Turnpike’s service plazas were operated by Howard Johnson’s until the early 1980s. Oakmont was closed Sept. 6 to begin preparations for demolition. The new Oakmont Plaza is expected to be opened by Memorial Day next year, coinciding with the start of the 2007 vacation season and in time for the U.S. Open golf tournament at Oakmont Country Club.


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