by Lisa A. Grimaldi | June 27, 2013
After several years of slow growth, a number of new headquarters hotels -- properties attached or closest to a convention center -- are in development around the United States. "The reasons such properties remain popular are always the same," says Randy McCaslin, vice president/practice leader at PKF Consulting in Houston. "Attendees don't want a long walk from their hotel to the convention center, and they want to be based where everything is happening."
Here's a look the latest headquarters hotel developments around the country.

Columbus, Ohio
The 532-room Hilton Columbus Downtown opened last October. The property was designed to meet LEED and Green Seal certifications and is connected via skybridge to the Greater Columbus Convention Center. The hotel, which features a stunning atrium with a 15,000-foot skylight, has 32,000 square feet of meeting space.

Other offerings include a 160-seat full-service restaurant and bar, a fitness center and a 150-piece art collection featuring works by Ohio artists.

Palm Beach, Fla.
Construction of a new 400-room Hilton hotel at the Palm Beach County Convention Center will begin in early 2014. The $100 million project currently is in the design phase, with details still to come.

Nashville's new Music City Center, the 1.2 million-square-foot convention cen­ter facility that debuted this spring, will get its headquarters hotel this fall. The 800-room Omni Nashville Hotel will have more than 80,000 square feet of meeting space (including two ballrooms) and 49,000 square feet of prefunction space. Among other offerings will be a business center, a live music space, a Mokara Spa, a fitness center and a rooftop pool. The property is expected to be granted LEED Silver certification.

The city's convention center, McCormick Place, will get a second headquarters hotel by 2015. The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority has announced the development of a 1,200-room property, as yet unflagged, adjacent to the venue. Among its offerings will be a 400-seat restaurant and two ballrooms, as well as a skybridge connecting to the convention center's West Building. The property is expected to attract about 15 new
mid-market events and 80,000 additional attendees per year to the center.

Last month, the existing headquarters hotel, the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, finished a $110 million renovation and expansion project that added a new 460-room tower for a new total of 1,260 guest rooms. In addition, the hotel's 43,000 square feet of meeting space and 23,000 square feet of prefunction space were updated.

Once the second hotel debuts, the two properties will collaborate to jointly host large group events.
Portland, Oregon
A 600-room Hyatt Regency is slated to open adjacent to the Oregon Convention Center in Portland in early 2016; at press time, no further details were available. Plans for the property have been in flux since 2007, when a proposal for a bond-funded, city-owned hotel was shot down due to the struggling economy. The project finally was approved last year, and construction will begin in early 2014.

Last December, the Houston City Council selected RIDA Development Corp. and Houston First Corp. to build a 1,000-room Marriott Marquis to be connected to the George R. Brown Convention Center. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2014, with opening slated for spring 2016. Stay tuned for details.

Irving, Texas
Last month, the Irving City Council and Mortenson Development signed an agreement to develop a $90 million, 350-room hotel to support the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas. The property, which will be connected by skybridge to the center, will have 20,000 square feet of meeting space. At press time, two hotel brands, Renaissance and Westin, were under consideration; the operator is expected to be announced this month. Groundbreaking will take place later this year, and the hotel should open in 2015.

Washington, D.C.
The long-awaited headquarters hotel for the capital's Walter E. Washington Convention Center, the 1,175-room Washington Marriott Marquis, is set to debut on May 1, 2014, according to newly appointed general manager Dan Nadeau.

The hotel, which was designed to earn LEED Silver status and will be connected to the convention center via an underground passageway, will have approximately 100,000 square feet of meeting space, including three ballrooms and a rooftop terrace.