In Anchorage, Alaska, voters have approved a hotel room tax hike to 12 percent from 8 percent to fund construction and operation of a new 193,000-square-foot, $93 million downtown convention center. The center will have roughly 93,000 square feet of exhibit and meeting space for up to 5,000 delegates. Opening is slated for September 2009.
Ocean Walk Village (www.oceanwalkvillage.com), a massive redevelopment project opening in phases in Daytona Beach, Fla., offers more than 1,300 oceanside guest rooms and 135,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space. Upon completion of the project in 2007, meeting and exhibit space will total 265,000 square feet. A $58 million project to triple the space at Ocean Center convention center has been approved. The expansion will add 130,000 square feet to the existing 70,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space.
The expansion of the Colorado Convention Center (www.denver.org/planners/ccc.asp) in downtown Denver has been completed, doubling the center's size. Officially opened in December, the $310 million expansion includes a 50,000-square-foot ballroom and a 5,000-seat theater. Sixty-three meeting rooms offer 100,000 square feet of space. The convention center now has a total of 2.2 million square feet of space, including an exhibit floor the size of 12 football fields. An 1,100-room Hyatt Convention Center Hotel, owned by the city, will open in December 2005. The center has its own covered light-rail station.
Hampton, Va., is booking business for the Hampton Roads Convention Center, which opened in May. The 344,000-square-foot center features 35 meeting rooms, capacity for 14,000 delegates, a 108,000-square-foot exhibit hall, and a 2,000-seat grand ballroom.
The $271 million Connecticut Convention Center at Adriaen's Landing (www.ccda.state.ct.us/adriaen/convention) opened in June in Hartford. Construction of the building, which is 540,000 square feet, began in 2001. It 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. Nearly 200 events have already been scheduled for its first year of operation. The center is the anchor of the 30-acre Adriaen's Landing development, which is still under construction. The project will include retail and entertainment facilities and is part of a massive $2 billion city revitalization project. Also in the city, the Marriott Hartford Downtown has opened with 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 a $34 million renovation. It is connected to the Hartford Civic Center.
In Indianapolis, $900 million in funding was approved in April for expansion of the Indiana Convention Center (www.iccrd.com) and new stadium. The planned completion date for the new stadium is 2008, while the convention center expansion, on the footprint of the RCA Dome, is slated for completion in 2010. When finished, 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 33,000 square foot Sagamore Ballroom.
Early this year, the Kansas City (Mo.) Convention and Entertainment Centers finished renovating meeting room and pre-function space. More than half of the facility was gutted, and the space was reconfigured into 26 meeting rooms with more than 67,704 square feet of meeting space. High-speed wireless Internet is installed throughout the building. In March, new seats were installed and upgrades were done to Municipal Auditorium. The $135 million project will also add a 46,450-square-foot ballroom over Interstate 670, scheduled for completion in 2007.
In Madison, Wis., a $2.5 million renovation of the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center has been completed. The project included new carpeting, chairs, movable wall coverings, and upgraded AV equipment. The movable walls created new meeting spaces of up to 3,680 square feet. www.visitgrandrapids.org
The Newport Beach Marriott (www.marriott.com) in California's Newport Beach is undergoing a $60 million renovation that will include a new restaurant and a 14,000-square-foot spa. It opens this fall.
The Puerto Rico Convention Center (www.prconvention.com) is accepting bookings. At 580,000 square feet, the facility will be the largest in the Caribbean, housing a 152,700-square-foot exhibition hall, a 39,500-square-foot ballroom, and 36,200 square feet of meeting rooms.
The Oregon Convention Center contracted with Eleven Wireless, based in Portland, to install a high-speed Wi-Fi network throughout the nearly 1 million-square-foot facility. Eleven Wireless' software application, ElevenOS, enables OCC to offer multiple service levels of Wi-Fi and bill customers via credit card, prepaid cards, or direct to their convention center account. Visitors to the center have a choice of two service plans: 60 minutes for $6 or 24 hours for $12.
Construction on Raleigh, N.C.'s, new convention center began in April. The Raleigh Convention Center (www.rccproject.com/home.asp) is scheduled to open in spring 2008 in downtown with 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.
A new convention and meeting facility has opened in Reno, Nev. The 118,000-square-foot Reno Events Center is part of a $65 million, two-phase project in downtown Reno. The facility includes a multipurpose space on the first floor for concerts, sporting events, and small conventions. The 55,000-square-foot space includes retractable seating. The second floor has 4,954 square feet of space, with six meeting rooms and suites, each approximately 825 square feet.
The grand opening of the new 154,000-square-foot St. Charles (Mo.) Convention Center (www.historicstcharles.com/sccc/Default.aspx) took place 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, a full-service kitchen with in-house catering, and spacious pre-function areas complete with a grand fireplace.
San Antonio's Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center (www.sanantonio.gov/convfac/) now provides wireless Internet access throughout its 660,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including the 2,536-seat Lila Cockrell Theatre. The center has more than 400,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space.
The 350,000-square-foot Shreveport Convention Center (www.shreveport-bossier.org) is scheduled to open in January 2006 in Shreveport, La. In the heart of the downtown business district, the convention center will have 100,000 square feet of column-free exhibit space that can accommodate 470 booths and be divided into three separate halls. The second level will have an 18,000-square-foot ballroom that can be subdivided into four rooms, which will accommodate up to 2,000 people for a general session and 1,500 for a banquet. An additional 10 meeting rooms will be on the second level, along with a boardroom. A 316-room Hilton, slated to open this fall, will be connected to the center.
In Syracuse, N.Y., Onondaga County officials have narrowed the field to two developers, chosen as finalists to construct a 350-room hotel at the Oncenter Complex (www.oncenter.org). The selected proposals both include a 350-room hotel, under the Marriott or Hilton brand, directly across the street from the convention center and including an enclosed connecting walkway. Groundbreaking could take place as soon as October of this year.
The $122 million Greater Tacoma (Wash.) Convention & Trade Center (www.tacomaconventioncenter.com) has opened with 76,000 square feet of meeting space, a 51,500-square-foot main exhibit hall, a 13,650-square-foot ballroom, 11,200 square feet of meeting space/breakout rooms, and pre-function areas with views of Mount Rainier and Commencement Bay.
An expansion of the Vancouver (B.C.) Convention and Exhibition Centre has begun, with completion expected by 2008. The expanded VCEC will house the media center for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, to be held in Vancouver and Whistler. Both the Canadian government and the B.C. provincial government have increased their contribution to the expansion of the center, bringing the total for the project to U.S. $406 million.
The new $202.5 million Virginia Beach (Va.) Convention Center features more than 300,000 square feet of space, including approximately 57,000 square feet of exhibit space, 19,000 square feet of meeting room space, and a 31,029-square-foot ballroom. More than 1,000 free parking spaces are available. The existing 23-year-old building will be demolished after completion of Phase I, and construction will then begin on Phase II. When that is completed in January 2007, the convention center will total 516,522 square feet, encompassing 150,000 square feet of exhibit space, a 31,029-square-foot ballroom, and 29,000 square feet of meeting space.
The Washington Convention Center Authority Board of Directors will develop a 1,200-room headquarters hotel for the new Washington, D.C., center (www.dcconvention.com). A study will be done to determine whether the hotel should be built at a site next to the convention center or at the old convention center site, a few blocks away.