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by Michael C. Lowe | July 01, 2011
City Snapshots

Chicago. The 285-room Public Chicago, the first of Ian Schrager's new hotel brand, opens this fall with 10 meeting rooms.

Detroits Cobo Center

Detroit. The Cobo Conference and Exhibition Center is undergoing a $221 million revamp that will transform Cobo Arena into a 40,000-square-foot ballroom, among other changes.

Sandusky, Ohio. The Kalahari Re­sort broke ground in March on a $22 million expansion that will more than double the size of its convention center, to 215,000 square feet, by December.

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St. Louis
The former Kiel Opera House is undergoing a $78 million renovation, after which it will be renamed the Peabody Opera House. The venue, which opened in 1934, includes a 3,200-seat theater and four smaller theaters that can be rented out for special events. The property will reopen this fall featuring improved sound and lighting systems, in addition to a full interior revamp.

The Cheshire hotel is undergoing a $4 million renovation and is expected to reopen this summer. The 107-room property is home to the Fox & Hounds Tavern, which channels a cozy English pub, and offers several event spaces, including a private boardroom with stained-glass windows and an outdoor beer garden adjacent to the pool.

The St. Louis Science Center broke ground on a $9.5 million expansion last July. The project, expected to open in October, will provide the venue with a new 13,000-square-foot exhibition space. The expansion is expected to be LEED certified and also will include a rooftop terrace available for special events.

The Hampton Inn & Suites St. Louis/South I-55 opened last November with 92 guest rooms and approximately 726 square feet of meeting space.

Meeting Hotels
Major properties include the 918-room Renaissance St. Louis Grand; 910-room Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch; 780-room Millennium Hotel St. Louis; 675-room Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark; 539-room St. Louis Union Station Marriott; 502-room Harrah's St. Louis Casino & Hotel; 394-room Renaissance St. Louis Hotel Airport; 393-room Hilton St. Louis Airport; 345-room Henry VIII Hotel; 331-room Chase Park Plaza Hotel;  327-room DoubleTree Westport; 300-room The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis; and 300-room Sheraton West Port Hotel Lakeside Chalet.

Convention Centers
America's Center; exhibit space, 502,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 80. (314) 992-0627

Scottrade Center; exhibit space, approximately 36,000 square feet. (314) 622-5400

Airport Transit
Lambert-St. Louis Airport, about a 20- minute drive from St. Louis' downtown district. Transfer cost by taxi, $25-$35

Taxes
Room tax, 7.25%; sales tax, 8.491%; total  tax on hotel rooms, 15.741%

Group Venues
The Missouri Civil War Museum will open this fall to tell the story about the state's role in the historic conflict (Missouri, on the border between the North and the South, was divided among two separate governments during the war). Thousands of artifacts and documents will be displayed throughout the 16,000-square-foot venue's galleries, including weapons, flags and musical instruments. A garden accommodating up to 100 people will be available for events. (314) 845-1861

The Magic House, St. Louis Child­ren's Museum, is a 50,000-square-foot interactive facility that allows visitors to reconnect with their childhood curiosity. The venue can accommodate up to 1,000 and features exhibits such as an electrostatic generator and a giant bubble station. (314) 822-8900

Dining Out
Voted best restaurant in St. Louis by Zagat in 2010, Niche serves a varied menu that includes pappardelle tossed with smoked pork shank, mascarpone and apples, as well as squab served with foie gras bacon, turnips, sorrel, pearl onions and fingerling potatoes. A private room can accommodate up to 50. (314) 773-7755

Contact
St. Louis Convention & Visitors Com­mission, (314) 992-0627