M.A. Mortenson Co. wants to bring another hotel to downtown Minneapolis.

The real estate and construction firm announced Thursday its plans for developing and building an AC Hotels by Marriott at 401 Hennepin Av. S., across 4th Street from the Minneapolis Central Library. The nine-story, 244-room hotel will cost $48 million.

The AC hotel brand is new to U.S. travelers. Founded in 1998 by Antonio Catalán, AC Hotels has 75 properties in Spain, Italy, France and Portugal. After the European brand formed a joint venture with Marriott in 2011, the partnership launched the chain last year in North America. Minneapolis will be the fourth U.S. location, following New Orleans, Kansas City and Miami Beach.

"Undoubtedly, they are picking that brand because there are so many hotels in downtown Minneapolis," said Kirby Payne, president of Rhode Island-based HVS Hotel Management, formerly in Minneapolis.

"That's one reason hotel companies that own brands come up with new brands is because they need more stuff to sell," he said.

Located near the light-rail line, Target Field and Target Center, as well as both the central business district and the burgeoning North Loop neighborhood, the project would fill in another surface parking lot in the hot downtown real estate market.

"We believe this brand is a natural fit for the culture and vibrancy of the downtown Minneapolis market," Nate Gundrum, a Mortenson development executive, said in a statement. "At the crossroads of the downtown core and the Warehouse District, this location will empower guests to experience and feel the city."

Gundrum was not available for a phone interview.

The company's plan for the hotel requires city approval. Mortenson is scheduled to make its first formal proposal at a meeting of the Minneapolis Planning Commission next Thursday. A public review is likely in January.

ESG Architects, based in Minneapolis, designed the hotel. The firm also partnered with Mortenson on the Hampton Inn & Suites hotel that is currently under construction at 1st Avenue and 8th Street.

Mortenson pitched another AC Hotels, dual-branded with SpringHill Suites by Marriott, earlier this year on the site near the new Vikings stadium. But the company's $63 million proposal was passed over by Minneapolis City Council for a mixed Ryan Cos. development.

Meanwhile, Mortenson is building a 14-story, 342-room JW Marriott at the Mall of America.

Mortenson expects the new AC Hotel to open in 2016.