Boom Town Chicago

  • Connected to Hyatt Regency McCormick Place by skybridge, the Hyatt Conference Center opens in August, adding 31,000 square feet of space for small to midsize groups. The facility is wired for high-speed access.

  • Two W hotels open this summer: W Chicago Lakeshore will have 556 rooms on Lake Shore Drive; W Chicago City Center will have 390 rooms, 11 meeting rooms, and a ballroom in the financial district.

  • Le Meridien Chicago opened this spring in the former McGraw Hill building. All 311 guest rooms offer high-speed Internet access. There are 15 meeting rooms.

  • The 339-room Peninsula Chicago opened in June with a suite of in-room technology perks. Besides high-speed Internet access, a flat-screen TV, and a command station beside the bed that controls the curtains, guests have a DVD-connected TV monitor mounted in-wall over the bathtub and a hands-free phone mounted over the bathtub that blocks out background noise. The property also has 15,000 square feet of meeting space and a spa.

  • Two blocks from Navy Pier, the Embassy Suites-Chicago Downtown Lakefront is scheduled to open this summer with 455 suites, 16 breakout rooms, and a ballroom.

  • A 2002 opening is planned for the 415-room Hotel Sofitel Chicago Water Tower.

  • The Regal Knickerbocker was renamed the Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel Chicago.

Midwest Resources







Midwest Cities on the Move

  • The 615-room Indianapolis Marriott Downtown, which opened last February, is the state's largest hotel. Linked to the Indiana Convention Center & RCA Dome, the hotel has 40,000 square feet of meeting space, including two ballrooms.

  • Completion of a $100 million reconstruction project at the 1,328-room Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center is scheduled for November. The hotel will offer 112,000 square feet of meeting space, including a new 12,000-square-foot ballroom.

  • At Detroit Metropolitan Airport's Midfield Terminal, Westin Hotels & Resorts plans to build a 404-room property to open in 2002.

  • Northeast of Traverse City, Mich., in Shanty Creek, the 85-suite Lodge at Cedar River opened in January. The 7,600 square feet of meeting space feature Internet hookups for up to 100 meeting-goers. Shanty Creek has 600 units, 36,500 square feet of meeting space, 46 downhill ski trails, and four golf courses.

  • The 222-room Mountain Grand lodge and Spa, in Boyne Mountain Resort in Boyne Falls, is under construction, with plans to open by 2004.

  • The Regal Minneapolis is now the Millennium Hotel, Minneapolis.

  • The Earle Brown Center, a conference venue at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, has added a second computer lab. The new facility has 20 workstations, each with a high-speed Internet connection.

  • In St. Paul, construction is under way on a pedestrian connection between RiverCentre and the city's downtown skyway system. It should be complete next year.

  • A multimillion-dollar renovation of guest rooms and public spaces at the Regal Cincinnati is complete. The property's north tower was renamed the Millennium Hotel, Cincinnati, as part of Millennium Hotels and Resorts' rebranding. The south tower is a Sheraton Four Points. The combined facility has 872 rooms.

  • A $60 million restoration of a Cleveland arcade culminated in May with the opening of the 293-room Hyatt Regency Cleveland at the Arcade. The hotel offers 7,100 square feet of meeting space and a business center.

  • The Hilton Milwaukee City Center has completed a 14-story addition. The property offers 729 guest rooms and 30,000 square feet of meeting space.

  • At Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in Lake Geneva, Wis., construction is under way on the 225-unit TimbeRidge Lodge; half the units will be ready in July, the remainder by December. The lodge, whose individually owned condos will be in a rental program, will feature a 50,000-square-foot indoor-outdoor water park and about 4,000 square feet of meeting space. Existing facilities comprise 355 guest rooms, 50,000 square feet of meeting space, and two golf courses.

  • In Green Bay, Wis., the KI Convention Center opened this spring with more than 46,000 square feet of meeting space, including 19 breakout rooms and space for 195 standard booths. The center is connected to the 223-suite Regency Suites.

Chi-Town Online

The Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau has redesigned its Web site (, adding a searchable database and online request for proposal, and released a Digital Resource Kit on CD-ROM. The CD includes downloadable pictures and a virtual tour of McCormick Place and Navy Pier.

Above the Arch

When the St. Louis Science Center's James S. McDonnell Planetarium opened in June, the city got a dramatic new venue. The domed StarBay room illustrated here can host dinners for 250. Planetarium rentals include a 20-minute star program and a view of the night sky ceiling during the remainder of the event.

The South Central States

  • After a multimillion-dollar renovation, Little Rock's 417-room Excelsior Hotel has become The Peabody Little Rock. It is the anchor property to the Statehouse Convention Center.

  • The Fayetteville (Ark.) Town Center (, a convention facility with about 14,000 square feet of exhibit space, will open in July. The facility will seat 1,500 people theater-style. Fayetteville expects to open a convention bureau in 2002.

  • Fort Smith, Ark., has opened a 140,000-square-foot convention center attached to the 255-room Holiday Inn City Center.

  • The Westin St. Louis opened in March as part of Cupples Station, a downtown redevelopment project. The $75 million property occupies a turn-of-the-century warehouse, featuring 11-foot ceilings in all 257 guest rooms. Each room has a two-line telephone with data port. The hotel has 17 conference and banquet rooms and a 2,542-square-foot grand ballroom.

  • In St. Louis, the first phase of a 1,081-room Renaissance property will open in 2002 next door to the 656,291-square-foot America's Center. The hotel will have 30 meeting rooms and a 31,000-square-foot ballroom.

  • The Regal Riverfront Hotel in St. Louis split into two hotels this spring. One tower is the Millennium Hotel St. Louis and the other Sheraton Four Points, both managed by Millennium Hotels and Resorts.

  • In Springfield, Mo., the first phases of Jordan Valley Park, a downtown redevelopment project, will open this fall.

  • Adjacent to Oklahoma City's Myriad Convention Center, the 311-room Renaissance Hotel, with 11,000 square feet of meeting space, opened last year.

  • In Overland Park, Kan., the city's first full-service convention center is under construction. Set to open in December 2002, the 237,000-square-foot facility will be connected to a 412-room Sheraton hotel, also under construction.

Can't Miss It

The trompe l'oeil facade of the 1929 Edison Brothers Warehouse in St. Louis will remain when the building reopens in July as the Sheraton St. Louis City Center Hotel & Suites. The mural depicts scenes from the 1904 World's Fair. The 288-suite property will have 14,000 square feet of meeting space.

South Central Resources