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eight miles from the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and in proximity to 7,500 downtown hotel rooms. The inventory includes the 800-room Hilton Austin (directly across from the facility’s north side) and the 1,012-room JW Marriott Austin (two blocks away). The convention center’s design emphasizes native Texas materials such as rustic limestone, and plenty of natural light and downtown views. Its 369,132 sq. ft. of function space includes 247,052 sq. ft. of column-free exhibit space, the 40,510-sq.ft. upper-level Grand Ballroom, the 23,418-sq.-ft. South Ballroom, and 54 meeting rooms totaling over 58,000 sq. ft. On the tech side, the facility has installed a communication infrastructure capable of moving voice, video and data at one billion bits a second. On the catering side, the Austin Convention Center serves groups of 10 to 5,000 attendees.

Downtown with 8,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. Next year will see the debut of a 185-room AC Hotel By Marriott, the 150-room Hotel RL Houston Downtown and the 353-room Intercontinental Houston Medical Center property in the Texas Medical Center.

Groups can take advantage of a hotel development surge in Dallas.

DALLAS

The George R. Brown Convention Center has seen a revitalization of Avenida Houston pedestrian plaza.

HOUSTON

Despite the severe challenges Houston faced this summer with Hurricane Harvey, it continues to be one of the most rapidly developing cities in the state. The most salient project is Avenida Houston, fronting the George R. Brown Convention Center. Five restaurants have been built on the pedestrian plaza, which is part of a campus that includes the Convention Center, Discovery Green park, Hilton Americas-Houston and the new 1,000-room Marriott Marquis. The area includes three main parking garages: Avenida North, South and Central. The Convention Center features a new grand entrance that connects the building with the plaza and park across the street. Groups convening at the George R. Brown Convention Center not only have 1.2 million usable sq. ft. at their disposal, but also a collection of downtown venues ideal for attendees’ free time, such as ToyotaCenter (home to the NBA Rockets and many blockbuster concerts) and Minute Maid Park (home to the MLB Astros). This year, a new, 99,000-sq.-ft. outdoor plaza and 95,000-sq.-ft. concourse complemented the Convention Center’s 550,000 sq. ft. of contiguous exhibit space. More than 20 million visitors traveled to Houston in 2016, representing a visitation record for the city. Future visitors, including meeting attendees, will be able to enjoy many developments beyond Avenida Houston. These include an expanded Museum of Fine Arts, expected to be completed by 2019; the new North Houston Bike Park; a renovated Emancipation Park, Houston’s oldest; and the Grand Texas Theme Park, a 632-acre amusement park scheduled to open next summer. On the lodging front, the new Hotel Alessandra brings 225 guestrooms and 10,000 sq. ft. of function space to the downtown. Also located downtown is the historic Melrose Building, which has been redeveloped into the new, 255-room Le Méridien Houston 34

The centerpiece of Dallas’s meetings industry is the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. The facility’s resume includes prominent conferences and tradeshows such as the NAHB International Builders’ Show, Mary Kay’s Annual Seminar, International Air Conditioning Heating Refrigeration, Solar Power International and The Great American Trucking Show. Groups have one million sq. ft. of exhibit space at their disposal, as well as three ballrooms (divisible into four) spanning 65,124 sq. ft., 88 meeting rooms, a 9,816-seat arena and 1,750-seat theater. The 4,000 hotel rooms within walking distance include 1,001 at the adjacent Omni Dallas Hotel, which itself has 110,000 sq. ft. of function space. The Convention Center is located 30 minutes from Dallas/Fort Worth International (DFW) airport and has an onsite DART rail station. Dallas’s hotel industry is replete with small-property development, including new hotels opened this year by Holiday Inn, Home2 Suites, Towneplace Suites, Fairfield Inn & Suites and Cambria Suites. Next year will see openings by Residence Inn, Canopy by Hilton, AC Hotels by Marriott, element Hotels and other boutique and economy brands. While these are not “meeting hotels” per say, they certainly increase the lodging options for convention delegates. In addition, a 250-room JW Marriott and 220-room Marriott are scheduled to debut in 2020. On the historic side of Dallas’s hotel industry is The Adolphus, which opened in 1912 and offers a resplendent atmosphere. The 407room property houses 24,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space divided into 22 rooms, a spa, rooftop pool and even an art collection in the French Room Bar and Salon. The French Room, with its restored European architecture, and the 19th floor Century Room, with its floor-to-ceiling windows, are two fine choices for group gatherings. Located about one mile from the Convention Center is the Longhorn Ballroom. Built in 1950, the oldest ballroom in North Texas has been fully renovated and offers 23,000 sq. ft. of indoor space (accommodating up to 2,550 attendees) and two acres of outdoor function space. Venue staff provide F&B, AV and décor service. A particularly aesthetic ballroom can be found in the Dallas Design District. The Hall of the Dragon accommodates up to 700 attendees under dramatic and versatile ballroom lighting. Another intriguing offsite venue is the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, located on the shores of White Rock Lake. Listed among the world’s top arboretums, the 66-acre facility is available for rental to groups of up to 500 attendees.

ARLINGTON

Located near Dallas, this city is becoming more attractive as an option for Texas-bound groups with the development of the $150 million Live! by Loews. The project broke ground in November and is expected to open in 2019 as the convention anchor for Texas Live!, Facilities & Destinations 2017 Fall / Winter

Facilities & Destinations - Fall/Winter 2017  

Cover Feature: Spectra Puts Industry Leading Ideas Into Practice || Inside: Small Market Review, 8 Keys To Optimal Learning, Caesars Reimagi...

Facilities & Destinations - Fall/Winter 2017  

Cover Feature: Spectra Puts Industry Leading Ideas Into Practice || Inside: Small Market Review, 8 Keys To Optimal Learning, Caesars Reimagi...