Begun in January, the $11.4 million, 60,000-square-foot expansion of the Amarillo (Texas) Civic Center is on target for a mid-2003 completion. With the expansion, the center's meeting and exhibit space will total nearly 340,000 square feet. Included in the expansion is a 24,500-square-foot, column-free exhibit hall; a 20,700-square-foot divisible ballroom capable of seating 1,150 people banquet-style; two cater/prep kitchens; and a visitor information center. The project also includes a remodeling of the existing exhibit hall that encompasses a new floor and fiber-optic cable, and renovation of the concourses. www.civicamarillo.com
A Starwood property, The Westin New York at Times Square, New York City, opened ahead of schedule in October. The 863-room hotel offers wireless capabilities and 32 technically advanced meeting rooms. The hotel will offer a lounge and sushi bar, 24-hour room service, fitness center and spa, and concierge and theater ticket desks. Guest rooms will have two-line phones, data ports with high-speed Internet access, and luxury amenities. The closest full-service hotel to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, the Westin has more than 34,000 square feet of flexible meeting and function space. www.westinny.com
In late September, the 295-room The IACC — certified Doral Eaglewood Conference Resort Spa has opened in Itasca, Ill. It has its own 18-hole golf course and a 10,000-square-foot health spa. Located 35 minutes from downtown Chicago and 21 minutes west of O'Hare, it offers technologically advanced facilities. Each of the 34 conference rooms is equipped with fatigue-resistant seating, glare-free lighting, graphic presentation capabilities, and tackable wall surfaces. www.doraleaglewood.com
Barona Valley Ranch Resort & Casino, Barona Indian Reservation, in Lakeside, Calif., part of a $263 million expansion, is scheduled to open in January. Located in northeastern San Diego County, the resort has 364 guest rooms, eight restaurants, an 18-hole championship golf club, a 300,000-square-foot casino, and a full-service golf events center with 20,000 square feet of flexible function space that can accommodate groups of up to 600 people. www.barona.com.
The 204-unit Clarion Hotel and Conference Center, Cherry Hill, N.J., recently opened. A former Sheraton Four Points Hotel, the property just completed a $5 million renovation of all guest rooms and public spaces. It has 20,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space, which can be divided into two ballrooms and can accommodate 1,000 people. The hotel is 13 miles from the Philadelphia International Airport, as well as 45 minutes from Atlantic City, N.J. www.choicehotels.com
The Cincinnati City Council has approved a $160 million expansion, renovation, and reconfiguration of the Cincinnati Convention Center. As part of the integrated funding plan, Cincinnati-based Cinergy Corp. will contribute $12 million in exchange for naming rights for the expanded and renovated Convention Center. Under a 30-year agreement, the facility will be renamed the Cinergy Center. The existing facility includes 162,000 square feet of exhibit space; the project will increase exhibit area to nearly 200,000 square feet. Construction is expected to begin in 2004, with opening slated for 2006.
Eden Roc Renaissance Resort & Spa, Miami Beach, plans to finish by this year's end a $14 million renovation program that includes a redesign of the resort's meeting space. The 349-room, beachside resort has 12 meeting rooms and 38,000 square feet of meeting space.
The Renaissance Vinoy Resort & Golf Club, St. Petersburg, Fla., is completing a $3.6 million refurbishment project, which is part of the celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the hotel's historic restoration and grand re-opening in 1992. All 360 guest rooms and suites are being refurbished. The Vinoy's 40,000 square feet of meeting space includes 18 meeting and breakout rooms. www.renaissancehotels.com
At the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, a $25 million renovation and addition to its conference and meeting space is planned. Once complete, the 730-room-and-suite Biltmore will have more than 100,000 square feet of indoor meeting space, including the new 25,000-square-foot Frank Lloyd Wright Ballroom, expected to open in June 2003. The ballroom addition will have more than 11,500 square feet of pre-function space and 10 breakout rooms. The resort also has renovated its 15,000-square-foot pavilion, which recently reopened as the McArthur Ballroom, and has just completed $7 million in renovations to the lobby, conference center, and guest rooms. www.arizonabiltmore.com.
In Ixtapa, on Mexico's Pacific Coast, the 250-room Meliá Azul Ixtapa Beach Resort & Conference Center has begun a $19 million expansion to add 148 more rooms and a convention center. Headed for an early 2003 completion, the property will then have 398 guest rooms. The new convention center will feature a 5,500-square-foot foyer and a 19,254-square-foot main meeting room, as well as 12 breakout rooms and an executive board room. The conference center will accommodate 1,800 people banquet-style. www.solmelia.com