A Changing Landscape: Meetings Industry Building Boom Continues

A meetings-industry construction boom is taking place all over the South. Here’s an overview of what’s happening where and when . . .

On Target For 2016

ALABAMA

Huntsville: As part of a $70 million downtown redevelopment on the site of a former Holiday Inn, the Centre at Big Spring will include a new 150-room hotel, slated to open in late summer 2016.

FLORIDA

Opal Sands, CLearwarterClearwater Beach: Scheduled to open in the spring, the Opal Sands Resort (at right) will include 230 oceanfront guest rooms and suites with private balconies overlooking the Gulf of Mexico on Clearwater’s beachside promenade. In addition to 25,000 square feet of meeting space, a 5,500-square-foot lawn will provide a site for out- door events. Amenities will include a large fitness center, full-service spa, waterfront dining and beach bar.

Daytona Beach: The Westin Daytona Beach Resort & Spa will open by fall 2016, according to Bob Jacobs, Vice President Brand Management, Sheraton & Westin North America. Following a $20 million renovation of a previous property on the site, the new Westin will include 200 guest rooms and 25,000 square feet of indoor and out- door meeting and function space along 500 feet of oceanfront beach.

KENTUCKY

Lexington: An 88-room 21c Museum Hotel Lexington, with 7,000 square feet of meeting space, is scheduled to open in early 2016.

LOUISIANA

Alexandria: Two properties connected to the Alexandria Riverfront Convention Center are being upgraded. A $6.5 million renovation of the former Alexander Fulton Hotel in downtown Alexandria into the 160-room Holiday Inn Downtown Convention Center is set for completion in the spring of 2016. The 96-room Hotel Bentley, undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation, is also expected to re-open in 2016.

NORTH CAROLINA

Chapel Hill: The 110-room Southern Village Hyatt Place Hotel, with 1,700 square feet of meeting space is under construction and set to open in late 2016, according to Marlene Barbera, director of sales at the Chapel Hill CVB.

Raleigh: The StateView Hotel on the North Carolina State University/Centennial Campus, a 164-room Marriott Autograph Collection hotel property, with 9,000 square feet of meeting room space is expected to open in the summer of 2016.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Hilton Head Island: The Inn at Palmetto Bluff is investing $100 million in a new hotel, which will bring the total room numbers to 200 when it opens in mid-2016, according to Jack Reed, director of sales at the Hilton Head Island CVB.

TEXAS

San Antonio: The Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center is undergoing a $325 million transformation. With an anticipated completion date of Fall 2016, the project will create 514,000 square feet of contiguous meeting space, including a new 54,000-square-foot ballroom.

Woodlands (Houston area): The Westin in The Woodlands is set to open in late February 2016. Situated in the heart of the business district, on the waterway, it will have 302 guest rooms and 15,000 square feet of meeting space.

In Progress For 2017 & 2018

FLORIDA

Miami Beach: In 2018, a $500 million transformation to the Miami Beach Convention Center is expected to be completed along with the addition of a new 800-room headquarter hotel.

Orlando: A new I-Drive pedestrian bridge connecting the Orange County Convention Center to the Hyatt Regency is slotted for completion in early 2017.

KENTUCKY

Louisville: A renovation and expansion of the Kentucky International Convention Center (KICC) in downtown Louisville is set to begin in August 2016 with a completion date of summer 2018, according to Karen Williams, president and CEO of the Louisville CVB. The project will increase contiguous exhibit space to more than 200,000 square feet, and add a 40,000-square-foot ballroom. Meeting rooms will also be renovated.

Also expected to open in 2018 is a 600-room Omni Hotel with 70,000 square feet of meeting space.

MISSISSIPPI

Jackson: Ground was broken in August for a Westin Jackson Hotel, a nine-story, 205-room hotel that is expected to open in January 2017.

MISSOURI

Kansas City: A new 800-room Hyatt Hotel, located directly across from the Kansas City Convention Center, is expected to open in 2018.

NORTH CAROLINA

Winston-Salem: Beginning January 2016,
the Benton Convention Center will undergo a multi-million dollar renovation to include structural, design and technological upgrades to the interior and exterior of the 100,000-square-foot building. The center will remain operational

throughout all phases of the project, which is expected to be finalized May 2017, according to Richard Geiger, president of Visit Winston-Salem.

TEXAS

Austin: In 2017, the Fairmont Hotel, now under construction next to the Austin Convention Center, is expected to open with 1,000 rooms and a four-level underground parking garage.

Plano: In September 2015, construction began on a 304-room Renaissance Hotel, part of $2 billion Legacy West mixed-use project that includes Toyota’s new North American headquarters. Legacy West is expected to open in 2017.

WEST VIRGINIA

Charleston: Ground was broken earlier this year on a $90 million expansion and remodel of the Charleston Convention Center. Scheduled for a

2018 completion date, the project includes an additional 146,000 square feet of ballroom and breakout space.

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