by By Michael C. Lowe | September 01, 2010
Farm Fresh

New Farmers Market stores rendering i2

The South Carolina State Farmers Market in Columbia is expected to open by the end of the year and will include a 400-seat amphitheater, a 150-seat exhibition kitchen, restaurants and wholesale vendors providing locally grown and produced goods.

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Charlotte, N.C.
Local Update: The 149-room Aloft @ the EpiCentre opened last October in Uptown Charlotte's trendy EpiCentre complex; the property offers 2,000 square feet of meeting space.

Meeting Hotels: Properties include the 700-room Westin Charlotte, 400-room Hilton Charlotte Center City and 274-room Embassy Suites Charlotte. For more area hotels, visit

Convention Center: Charlotte Convention Center; exhibit space, 280,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 37; (704) 339-6000;

Airport Transit: Charlotte Douglas International Airport, about seven miles west of downtown. Transfer cost by taxi, $20-$25; by shuttle, $10-$12

Taxes: Room tax, 8%; sales tax, 8.25%; total tax on hotel rooms, 16.25%

Group Venue: Kalu opened in June serving authentic Japanese, Chinese and Korean cuisine. A 7,000-square-foot space is available for private dining. (704) 910-4877;

CVB Services: Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, (704) 334-6040;