The final phase of the new $2.3 million Virginia Beach Convention Center officially opened in January. The convention center has more than 500,000 square feet of flexible meeting space. The Hampton Roads Auto Dealers Association held the first show in the new exhibit hall, a 150,012-square-foot, column-free space. Pre-function space includes a 53,800-square-foot foyer with a video art wall spanning 360 feet. The center's 31,029-square-foot wood-paneled ballroom features programmable LED lighting.

At press time, the gala opening of the Kansas City Convention Center Ballroom was set for April 28. One of the 10 largest convention center ballrooms in the nation, the project is the final piece in a $150 million expansion. The new 46,484-square-foot ballroom is designed to meet Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) Silver Building certification standards. The ballroom can be opened to the adjoining pre-function space to extend the square footage to 46,484. The ballroom is adjacent to an outdoor plaza and connects to the existing conference center.

In Branson, Mo., the Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing opened in February on the Lake Taney-como waterfront. The Hilton has 242 guest rooms and 2,000 square feet of meeting space. Every room has high-speed Internet access; a 32-inch, LCD-screen television; and work spaces with ergonomic desk chairs. Plans call for an August opening of the new Branson Convention Center and the adjacent 290-room Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel. The convention center will have 220,000 square feet of meeting space, including two exhibit halls totaling 50,000 square feet, and a 23,000-square-foot ballroom. In addition to running the two new hotels, Hilton will manage the Convention Center for the city of Branson.

Construction has begun on the 10-story, 280-suite Embassy Suites Hotel Fairview and 80,000-gross-square-foot convention center at The Village at Fairview, Texas, a 400-acre, mixed-use lifestyle center. The hotel and convention center will be John Q. Hammons' eighth Texas development. Fairview is in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

In November 2006, the 20-story, 360-suite Embassy Suites Hotel Tampa-Downtown Convention Center opened its doors. The $100 million, full-service hotel, managed by Hilton Hotels Corp., is connected to the Tampa Convention Center by a skybridge. Guests can board an electric streetcar just outside the hotel entrance to take them along the downtown waterfront to shops, restaurants, and attractions at the popular Channelside district and Ybor City, Tampa's historic Latin quarter. The Embassy Suites Hotel has more than 9,000 square feet of flexible meeting space.