Near the CNIT Convention & Exhibition Centre and La Défense in Paris, a new 102,000-square-foot venue has opened, Espace Grande Arche. Located at the foot of the Grande Arche monument, the center has a 47,300-square-foot exhibit area, a plenary hall that can accommodate 2,000 delegates, and adjacent meeting rooms for 50 to 150 people.

Rafael Viñoly Architects, whose projects include the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, has been selected to design the new Marriott Convention Center headquarters hotel, to be built between 9th and 10th streets on Massachusetts Ave., N, in Washington, D.C.

Columbia, S.C.'s, 142,500-square-foot Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, under construction, is scheduled for an August 31, 2004, completion.

The World Trade Institute Conference Center, owned by Pace University and managed by Benchmark Hospitality, reopened in September in lower Manhattan. The Institute's original conference center was destroyed in the attacks of September 11. The Federal Emergency Management Agency provided a grant to Pace to renovate a 22-story building at 163 Williams St., intended as a temporary location. The conference facilities, on eight floors, include 20,000 square feet of dedicated meeting space, with 28 meeting rooms.

The 45,700-square-foot Ardmore (Okla.) Convention Center is under construction and due to open in August 2004, 30 minutes north of the Texas-Oklahoma border. The center will have 28,500 square feet of meeting and exhibit space, including 7,400-square-feet of prefunction space and a conference room that seats up to 3,000 people.

The Tulsa (Okla.) Convention Center is adding a new entrance, a new grand ballroom, additional meeting rooms and technology upgrades. The project includes the construction of a new adjacent arena with 18,000 fixed and retractable seats. When it is completed in 2007, the center will be known as the Tulsa Regional Convention and Events Center.

In Wisconsin Dells, Wis., The Kalahari Waterpark Resort & Convention Center is constructing an 80,000-square-foot convention center expansion, more than doubling its size to 125,000 square feet. The addition is set for completion in June 2004. There are 378 guest rooms on site and the Oasis Experience Day Spa.

Hotel News

The Omni Hotel at CNN Center in Atlanta opened its $100 million expansion project in November. The 600-room, 28-story tower is adjacent to the existing 15-story Omni Hotel, which recently underwent a $9 million renovation. The addition of the tower brings the total number of guest rooms to 1,067 and the meeting space now tops 120,000 square feet. A new 19,864-square-foot ballroom, with floor-to-ceiling windows, overlooks Centennial Olympic Park.

The 74-year-old landmark Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa has added a 25,000-square-foot ballroom, which can accommodate up to 2,500 people and is the second-largest in the state. The Frank Lloyd Wright Ballroom features 22-foot-high ceilings, and it can be divided into 10 rooms.

Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort has added a new spa, a new Italian restaurant, and a streetside cafe to its Kealohilani Tower. All 656 rooms in Kealohilani Tower are undergoing a softgoods renovation, to be completed mid-December. With the completion, last year, of a renovation of all 654 guest rooms in the Paoakalani Tower, Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort will have an inventory of 1,310 newly renovated rooms.

The Westin Convention Center Pittsburgh, adjacent to the new David L. Lawrence Convention Center, will complete a $10 million renovation in March, the first upgrade of the hotel since 1995. All 618 rooms will have new softgoods, new lighting, and new desks/workstations, including outlets for Internet access. All meeting rooms will be renovated as well, and new movable, more-soundproof partitions installed. The Westin's 9,000-square-foot fitness center, with steam room, sauna, Jacuzzi, and an Olympic swimming pool, along with the latest weight-training equipment, is also getting a facelift.

A new meetings wing at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, in Lake Louise, Alberta, is scheduled to open in spring 2004. It will have more than 18,000 square feet of function space, including an 8,300-square-foot ballroom, six breakout rooms, and a 200-seat restaurant.