The ceremony marked the commencement of work on the development, with the 141-bed hotel set to open in the spring of 2016.
The construction period will create up to 180 jobs, along with a boost to employment within the supply chain.
Once completed the hotel, part of the world famous Hilton group, will boast a feature bar and destination restaurant, meeting spaces and private dining areas and create work for more than 100 full and part-time staff, bringing a much-needed boost to Sunderland’s economy.
Cllr Harry Trueman, Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “It’s great to see this project get started, it is a fantastic development for Sunderland.”
“The city welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, to a wide range of major events, and new high-quality hotel provision like this will hopefully encourage more of those visitors to stay in Sunderland, providing an additional boost to the local economy.”
The hotel development is being built by North East-based Tolent Construction Limited. Its chairman, John Wood said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to work on this very prestigious development, which will add to the ever increasing profile of Sunderland and the region.
“Our own locally-based workforce will be employed on the project and wherever possible we will resource local suppliers and subcontractors to ensure that we reinvest in the local economy."