There aren't nearly as many hotel openings as there were five years ago, nor is there as much construction, but the level of activity indicates that the industry might be picking up. In fact, The Wall Street Journal reported in July that there's optimism that the lodging industry “is finally turning the corner.”

Throughout the country, several new hotels and convention facilities have either opened or ground has been broken.

Venue News
Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel

The News: A $70 million renovation has been completed at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, Colorado's largest hotel. Located on the 16th Street Mall, just blocks from the recently expanded Colorado Convention Center, the Sheraton Denver offers 1,231 guest rooms and suites and 133,000 square feet of meeting space.

Cleveland Medical Mart & Convention Center

The News: Construction is set to begin in October on a $425 million project to update the 85-year-old Cleveland Convention Center and build a new medical mart next door. The new Cleveland Medical Mart & Convention Center, owned by Cuyahoga County, will be developed and managed by Merchandise Mart Properties Inc., Chicago, which runs The Merchandise Mart in Chicago, a facility that has permanent showrooms for the retail industry. The new facility is expected to open in 2013. The convention center is adjacent the city-owned Public Auditorium, known as Public Hall, which has about 30,000 square feet of exhibit space, plus an auditorium.

Loews Atlanta

The News: The 414-room Loews Atlanta opened in April 2010. In midtown, the hotel is within walking distance of the Woodruff Arts Center, the High Museum of Art, the Fox Theatre, Atlanta Botanical Gardens, and Piedmont Park. More than 24,000 square feet of flexible meeting space can accommodate up to 1,580 people.

Tinley Park Convention Center
Tinley Park, Ill.

The News: Officials broke ground in April on an expansion of the Tinley Park Convention Center. It will add 24,000 square feet of clear-span exhibit space and 9,000 square feet of meeting space, effectively doubling the size of the facility. The $19 million project will bring 250 jobs to the area and is expected to bring in $265 million in annual revenue. The project is expected to be completed by May 2011.

Maxwell Hotel

The News: Located at the base of Queen Anne hill adjacent to the Seattle Center, the Maxwell Hotel opened in March with 139 guest rooms, an indoor pool, an exercise facility, an espresso bar, 1,600 square feet of meeting space, and 3,000 square feet of ground floor retail space. The hotel has complimentary wireless Internet and free off-road parking. It is steps away from a number of arts venues, including the Seattle Opera, Pacific Northwest Ballet, SIFF Cinema, and Intiman Theatre.

Hilton Columbus Downtown
Columbus, Ohio

The News: Officials will break ground in August 2010 on a $140 million, full-service hotel, adjacent to the 1.7-million-square-foot Greater Columbus Convention Center & Nationwide Arena. Hilton Worldwide will operate the hotel, which will feature 532 guest rooms, 48 suites, and 22,800 square feet of meeting space, including a 12,000-square-foot ballroom.

Hotel at Kirkwood Center
Cedar Rapids, Iowa

The News: Set to open, at press time, the first week of August 2010, the Hotel at Kirkwood Center, on the campus of Kirkwood Community College, will feature 71 guest rooms, a restaurant, and 91,000 square feet of meeting and conference space with Wi-Fi and multimedia support throughout. The Conference Suite will be able to accommodate up to 700 guests in a variety of room setups. The Business Event Room will offer seating for up to 120, theater-style. Four additional rooms will be configured as classrooms, two with a capacity of 52, two accommodating 58. The two computer labs each will have 12 stations. In addition, the 4,100-square-foot pre-function reception lobby will accommodate receptions for up to 500 people and will offer built-in Internet kiosks with complimentary service. The conference center will have on-site audiovisual services and full catering.

The hotel will serve as a “hospitality laboratory” for Kirkwood Community College's culinary, restaurant, and hotel management programs.

Peabody Orlando

The News: Scheduled for completion in November 2010 is a massive $450 million expansion and renovation project at the Peabody Orlando that will result in 1,641 guest rooms and 250,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts
Austin, Texas

The News: Starwood Hotels and Resorts has two openings taking place in Austin this year. The first, the Westin Austin at The Domain, opened in March. The hotel is in the heart of The Domain, a high-end retail and restaurant complex a few miles from downtown Austin. The hotel will offer 380 guest rooms and eight meeting spaces, the largest of which is 7,937 square feet in area.

In December, the W Austin is scheduled to open, just off the city's vibrant Second Street. The contemporary property will have 7,000 square feet of event space and 250 guest rooms.

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