THE $271 MILLION Connecticut Convention Center at Adriaen's Landing opened in June in Hartford. The building, which began construction in 2001, is 540,000 square feet in area and includes a 10-story glass atrium, more than 200,000 square feet of meeting space, and 145,000 square feet of exhibit space. The center offers expansive views of the city and the Connecticut River. It has a 40,000-square-foot ballroom and is served by more than 6,500 local area hotel rooms. The center is the anchor of a 30-acre development, Adriaen's Landing, still under construction, which will include retail and entertainment facilities and is part of a massive $2 billion revitalization project under way. Also in the city, the just-opened Marriott Hartford Downtown has 409 rooms and suites and 113,000 square feet of meeting space. And the Hilton Hartford, with 403 rooms and suites and 15,000 square feet of meeting space, celebrated its grand reopening in March after completing a $34 million renovation. It is connected to the Hartford Civic Center.
Scheduled to open in November, the 580,000-square-foot Puerto Rico Convention Center will feature a 152,700-square-foot exhibition hall dividable into three exposition spaces, as well as 36,400 square feet of additional meeting space that will include 15 separate meeting rooms on two levels, divisible into 28 breakout rooms. It will be the largest single meeting space in the Caribbean and Latin America and it will feature the largest ballroom in the Caribbean, with 39,500 square feet of space, capable of hosting 4,388 people theater-style. The new convention center is the centerpiece of the Puerto Rico Convention Center District, a $415 million multi-use urban center covering 113 acres. Plans include a 500-room headquarters hotel, a $175 million facility set to begin construction at the end of 2005, with a projected opening in 2007. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, under its Sheraton banner, will manage the new hotel.
In Cincinnati, the Cinergy Center's $160 million expansion, renovation, and reconfiguration is on schedule for completion in mid-2006. The project is managed by the City of Cincinnati. The Cinergy Center continues to be open for business during construction. The expansion is on track for completion of the first-floor exhibit hall level, comprising nearly 200,000 square feet of exhibit space by January. The second-floor meeting room level and third-floor grand ballroom, serviced by a new and expanded kitchen, will be completed by May 2006. The reconfiguration of the existing ballroom will complete the project in June 2006.
The first phase of the new $203 million Virginia Beach Convention Center has opened. It features 300,000 square feet of space, including the ground-floor ballroom and exhibit hall, the VIP boardroom, and a 150-foot-tall observation tower. The grand opening of the building is slated for early 2007, when the building will total 516,522 square feet of space, including a 150,000-square-foot, column-free exhibit hall and 28,929 square feet of meeting space.
The Raleigh (N.C.) Convention Center, which began construction in April, is scheduled to open in spring 2008 in downtown with a total of more than 500,000 square feet of space, including 150,000 square feet of exhibit space, 30,000 square feet of meetings space in 16 meeting rooms, and a 32,000-square-foot ballroom. A 400-room Marriott hotel and 980-space parking deck are also part of the project.
In Indianapolis, $900 million has been approved for expansion of the Indiana Convention Center and a new stadium. The planned completion date for the stadium is 2008, while the convention center expansion, on the footprint of the RCA Dome, is slated for completion in 2010. The project will provide 733,700 square feet of exhibit space, including 583,700 square feet of contiguous exhibit space in the convention center plus 150,000 square feet of exhibit space in the new, connected, multipurpose stadium. Approximately 250,000 square feet of ballroom and meeting space will include a new 68,000-square-foot ballroom to complement the existing Sagamore Ballroom.
In Tacoma, Wash., the $84 million Tacoma Convention & Trade Center opened this summer 18 miles from Sea-Tac International Airport. The 277,000-square-foot facility has 51,000 square feet of column-free exhibit space, a 14,000-square-foot ballroom, 11,000 square feet of breakout meeting space, and a glass-enclosed pre-function area.
The 154,000-square-foot St. Charles (Mo.) Convention Center opened in April. The center, managed by Philadelphia-based Global Spectrum, has a 27,600-square-foot main exhibit hall that can be expanded to 35,700 square feet by using the adjacent junior ballroom. The center also features a 16,200-square-foot grand ballroom, 7,070 square feet of separate meeting room space, and pre-function areas.