The new Overland Park Convention Center, Overland Park, Kan., recently saw the laying of the final brick, which brings it that much closer to completion. The facility will offer more than 85,000 square feet of exhibit space. Eighty-five percent of the building, including the interior, is complete. The city offers more than 5,000 hotel rooms, 1,000 of which are within walking distance of the Center, including the new 412-room Sheraton Hotel. The convention center features a 60,000-square-foot exhibition hall, a 25,000-square-foot ballroom, more than 14,000 square feet of meeting space, and extensive pre-function space including a 25,000-square-foot courtyard. A November 2002 opening is expected.

Openings

Slated for a 2005 opening, the Bayfront Convention Center, Erie, Pa., will be a $64 million facility built on 3.6 acres on Erie's waterfront. The 113,500-square-foot convention center will have an enclosed walkway to the new Marriott hotel and restaurant complex. Flexible ballroom, banquet, and meeting room space will accommodate groups of 100 to 1,000. The center will include a 29,000-square-foot exhibit hall, a 13,000-square-foot ballroom and banquet facility, 12 meeting rooms, and more than 19,000 square feet of pre-function space. www.erieevents.com

The luxury resort Sanctuary at Kiawah Island, Kiawah Island, S.C., is slated for a February 2004 opening. The four-story, $110 million oceanfront property will have 255 guest rooms and suites and 18,000 square feet of meeting and conference space, including a 6,200-square-foot grand ballroom with pre-function area and courtyard garden; a 3,200-square-foot meeting room with outdoor terrace, function lawn, and views of the Atlantic Ocean; and a 1,728-square-foot boardroom. A staffed business center will offer private work areas. www.kiawahresort.com/sanctuary

The Renaissance Fort Lauderdale — Plantation Hotel, a 250-room full-service hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., opened in September. The nine-story property has approximately 10,000 square feet of meeting space, including nine meeting rooms and a ballroom that can accommodate 450 people banquet-style. All guest rooms feature a work desk, two dual-line phones, and data ports with high-speed Internet access. The resort is adjacent to the 36-hole Jacaranda Championship Golf Club and Contour Day Spa. www.renaissancehotels.com

The bayside Ritz-Carlton, Coconut Grove, Miami, Fla., opened September 20 with 115 rooms. The hotel occupies the first eight floors of one of two 22-story towers, with the remainder being luxury private residences. The first two floors of the hotel include dining, meeting, and public space, as well as a 5,000-square-foot fitness center, spa, and outdoor pool. The meeting space includes a permanently covered 3,200-square-foot garden courtyard and a 4,200-square-foot terrace. A boardroom, four meeting rooms, and a 5,200-square-foot grand ballroom complement the open-air meeting space. www.ritzcarlton.com

Over the next two years, more than 3,350 new rooms are expected to open in Puerto Rico, bringing the number of hotel rooms to more than 16,000. Spurring the building boom is the upcoming 2004 opening of the 600,000-square-foot Puerto Rico Convention Center. Among the hotels opening are the 313-room Inter-Continental Cayo Largo Resort, an oceanfront property featuring extensive meeting facilities, set for an early 2003 opening. The 490-room Paradisus Puerto Rico Beach & Golf Resort, the island's first all-inclusive property, is slated to open late in 2003 and will feature two golf courses and a convention center with seven meeting rooms that total 12,000 square feet of space. www.meetpuertorico.com

Transformations

The 473-room Pheasant Run Resort & Spa, St. Charles, Ill., recently opened the 25,000-square-foot Advanced Center for Training, a dedicated training and event facility. ACT, a part of Pheasant Run's 300-acre “campus,” is directly attached to the 120-room Hilton Garden Inn. The facility includes 13 training rooms, which seat 1,000 people. The resort, which recently completed a $16 million renovation, offers nearly 600 guest rooms, more than 100,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, and a 38,000-square-foot exposition center. www.pheasantrun.com

The Bellagio, Las Vegas, just announced a $375 million expansion that will begin in mid-2003 and is scheduled for a December 2004 completion. The addition will include a 925-room spa tower and 60,000 square feet of new meeting space. The new tower will complement the resort's existing 3,005 rooms and suites. www.bellagio.com

The Disneyland Hotel, Anaheim, Calif., recently completed a $50 million renovation that includes a complete redo of all 990 guest rooms. The first phase of the renovation included a new Peter Pan-themed pool with a pirate ship that houses a 110-foot water slide. The resort hotel, which has a full-service business center, is one of three located at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim. www.disneyland.com

The Renaissance Esmeralda Resort and Spa, Indian Wells, Calif., will soon complete a new 16,500-square-foot ballroom within its 40,000-square-foot meeting facility. The resort will offer more than 100,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor function space. While the ballroom should be open by December, the new full-service spa, including outdoor treatment rooms, opened in April. Also in the works is the renovation of the resort's 560 guest rooms, including 22 deluxe suites. www.renaissancehotels.com

The 839-room Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok (Thailand) recently debuted its 174-room Krungthep Wing's refurbishment. The 16-story wing has its own entrance, lobby, and reception area. The hotel is 30 minutes from the international airport and adjacent to a Skytrain station. It has 23 function rooms, including a grand ballroom that can seat 1,600 people. www.shangri-la.com