by Michael C. Lowe | June 27, 2013

 The $20 million, 150-room Aloft Cleveland Downtown opened last month with 3,000 square feet of meeting space and the brand's signature bar and lounge.

The new 750,000-square-foot Cleveland Con­vention Center opened in June as part of a $465 million development project, the largest in downtown Cleveland's history. The facility is designed for LEED Silver certification and offers a 225,928-square-foot exhibit hall, 16 meeting rooms and a 32,198-square-foot ballroom with dramatic views of Lake Erie.

According to reports, some $93 million left over from the convention center project will be used to help fund a $350 million downtown development program that will include a convention center hotel with up to 700 guest rooms and additional public improvements. Should the plans be realized, the hotel could open by 2016.

The Westin Cleveland Downtown will reopen next April following a four-month, $64 million renovation. The 484-room property is in the city's financial district, just steps from the new convention center, and will offer 20,000 square feet of meeting space, a fitness center, a spa, a steak house and a Starbucks.

The $500 million Flats East Bank development project, currently under way, aims to revitalize Cleveland's Cuyahoga riverfront area with retail, entertainment, residences, a 1,200-foot-long boardwalk, a riverfront beach, public parks and 10 restaurants. Phase one of the project, which includes a 23-story, 500,000-square-foot office tower, was completed this spring.

Convention Centers
International Exposition Center; exhibit space, 280,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 26; (216) 676-6000;
Cleveland Convention Center; meeting and exhibit space, 225,928 square feet; meeting rooms, 16; (216) 920-1430;

Airport Transit
Cleveland Hopkins International Air­port, a 15-20 minute drive from downtown. Transfer cost by taxi, up to $50; by shuttle, about $20

Sales tax, 7.75%; county bed tax, 5.5%; city bed tax, 3%; total tax on hotel rooms, 16.25%  Group Venue
The Pickwick & Frolic Restaurant and Club is a unique event complex with a host of entertainment options for groups, from burlesque shows to comedy to murder-mystery dinners. Kevin's Martini Bar & Taproom features craft brews and classic martinis, while the intimate Champagne Bar offers more than 65 varieties of sparkling wine. The entire facility, including a bar area, two theaters and a restaurant, can hold up to to 900. (216) 241-7425;

Positively Cleveland, (216) 875-6600;