Meeting News - September 22, 2008 - (Page 16)

Convention Centers Marriott International will be the operator for the two new convention hotels at the Georgia International Convention Center in the Atlanta suburb of College Park, according to the venue. In addition, the new Automated People Mover linking the GICC with HartsfieldJackson International Airport could begin service as early as November 2009, ahead of the 2010 openings for the hotels. Together, the developments promise to significantly raise GICC’s accessibility and convenience for attendees. Located at the Gateway Center mixed-use development next to the GICC, a 150-room secondary property will raise the SpringHill Suites flag in spring 2010, while the 400-room headquarters hotel, opening later that summer, will carry the Marriott marquee. They will solve the GICC’s lack of on-site lodging since the convention center debuted in 2003. Currently, there are several airport properties about a mile away serving the facility. “This is generating a buzz from planners, and we’ve got a campaign out communicating with our clients about the hotels and [APM] project,” said Hugh Austin, GICC’s executive director. “We feel by being directly connected to the world’s busiest airport, we will truly become a destination facility for the international market.” Austin said the venue will be keying on the Central and South American markets. Marketing director Andria Towne said the GICC will be the U.S.’s first convention center with a physical airport connection. The hotels and APM line should make conventions much more appealing, raising convenience and cutting ground transportation costs to and from Hartsfield-Jackson despite it being just one-mile d Hartsfield-Jackson’s new Automated People Mover line may be delivering conventiongoers to the Gateway station at the Georgia International Center starting in late 2009. from GICC. Instead of shuttling on buses or taking cabs, convention-goers can take the three-station, elevated transit line that traverses I-85 (see graphic). It is expected that attendees from the Central Terminal Passenger Complex station at HartsfieldJackson will reach the Gateway Center stop at the door of GICC in By William Ng Georgia International Center: 2010 HQ Hotel Is A Marriott As hotel goes up, Automated People Mover shuttle from Hartsfield-Jackson Airport could be in use by late 2009 under three minutes, before the APM chugs on to a new 1.4-million-sf car rental facility. Two-car APM trains are expected to arrive at each station every 2.5 minutes. Meanwhile, other Phase I portions of Gateway Center are proceeding, with the first retail outlets, restaurants, and office building to be in place in 2009. Boston’s Hynes Center Gets OK for F&B Revamp Construction work on two new restaurant spaces at the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center has begun as part of an $18 million upgrade plan for the facility that was announced in April 2007 by the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority. The $4.7 million restaurant project will produce a 10,500-sf commons area on the eastern side of the building facing Prudential Plaza, and a 9,500-sf F&B space on the corner of Boylston and Dalton streets in about six months. The renovation involves teardown of the eastern side’s existing administrative space, as well as two meeting rooms on the corner of Boylston and Dalton. The work also will yield a refreshed sidewalk on Boylston, upgraded elevators, and a new convention center entrance. It represents the first major renovation project for the Hynes in its 20-year-history. The veteran facility on Boston’s Back Bay got a new lease on life at the end of 2006, when a state study determined that it was still viable despite the launch of the contemporary Boston Convention & Exhibition Center in the southern part of town two years earlier. But the study pointed out the need for improved revenue performance by the Hynes, and MCCA executive director James Rooney at the time said that the organization’s goal was to break even or turn a profit for the venue by 2012. Four months later, the MCCA released its $18 million proposal to modernize the facility, which includes updates to the building’s information technology and AV services, safety and security features, and soft infrastructure (e.g., carpeting and paint). While restaurant upgrades now have started, technological upgrades began back in 2006, and the most crucial IT work will take place over the next nine months. At 193,000 sf of exhibit space, the Hynes is aimed toward small and midsize conventions, with big events going to the 516,000-sf BCEC. According to the MCCA’s latest economic impact report, the Hynes is holding its own, drawing 122 events, 324,701 attendees, and 237,535 room nights in 2007; the BCEC hosted 125 events, 528,027 users, and 364,577 room nights last year. r 16 MeetingNews September 22, 2008

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meeting News - September 22, 2008

Meeting News - September 22, 2008
What’s Up @
Inside the Meetings Industry
People Making News
Hotels & Resorts
Convention Centers
Green Beat
Destination Insider
MN Webcast Report
Ad Index
Live from the Forum

Meeting News - September 22, 2008