by By Kaylee Hultgren | March 01, 2009

Nokia TheatreAlong the bumpy road back to a bustling economy, the following mega-sized hotel projects still plan to open in the next few years. Cities within their own cities, these projects will offer thousands of hotel rooms, acres of meeting space and entertainment options galore.

The Concord Resort
Monticello, N.Y.
This long-brewing $1 billion racetrack, gaming and resort development in Sullivan County, N.Y., got a vote of confidence recently when New York Governor David Paterson and the state legislature approved an enhanced revenue structure for the project, seen as a catalyst in re-establishing the Catskill Mountains' former glory as a first-class destination.
On the site of the former historic Concord Hotel, the new namesake resort will feature 750 rooms, a casino with 3,000 video gaming machines, a new harness racetrack, restaurants and retail options, and more. And that's just phase one, set to finish in summer 2010. Phase two, to begin shortly afterward, will include a 7,500-seat event center, a convention center, two completely refurbished championship golf courses, a boutique hotel and spa, and various commercial and residential developments.

The concrete foundation for the hotel was nearly complete at press time. "The Catskill region has a history of ideas that never materialize, so we thought it was important to get the project going and establish it as a reality," says a spokesperson for Capelli Enterprises, development partners with Empire Resorts. The entire project is set for completion in late 2011.


Los Angeles

Downtown Los Angeles is expanding its inventory of meeting and event venues in a major way with the creation of L.A. LIVE, AEG's massive $2.5 billion sports, entertainment and hotel development. As of this past December, the project was two-thirds complete. The first phase, unveiled in October 2007, marked the opening of the 7,100-seat Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE and the 40,000-square-foot Nokia Plaza, ideal for mega-sized outdoor events.

At the close of 2008, a slew of restaurants and entertainment venues came on line, including the 2,300-seat Club Nokia music hall, Lucky Strike Lanes and Lounge, ESPN Zone, Flemings Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, and the project's cornerstone, the Grammy Museum, where four floors of interactive exhibits celebrate the legacy of the fabled music awards. The museum can accommodate 200 within its primary meeting space, the Grammy Sound Stage, and an additional 350 on its top-floor Target Terrace.

At the far end of L.A. LIVE's construction timeline is its hotel component. By early 2010, a total of 1,001 rooms will be available at the JW Marriott Hotel at L.A. LIVE and the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Los Angeles, both housed within a 54-story LEED-certified hotel and condominium tower.

Energy-efficient design features at the glass-and-steel hotel tower include water-efficient landscaping, water-saving plumbing fixtures and the use of recycled materials throughout. In all, the structure will offer 260,480 square feet of conference and ballroom facilities and a 100,000-square-foot outdoor deck on which to hold events.

Capital Centre
Abu Dhabi, UAE

At Cityscape Abu Dhabi, an annual international real estate investment and development conference held last May at the National Exhibition Centre, it was announced that more than $190 billion would be spent on construction projects across this capital city, ranging from a zero-carbon, zero-waste community run entirely on solar power to a $39 billion tourist development contained on an island one-third the size of the city of Abu Dhabi itself. Of special interest to planners is a $2.2 billion mixed-use commercial, residential and hotel development called Capital Centre, surrounding the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

Construction on the project began in June 2007. By early 2011, it will materialize as a micro-city, featuring 23 towers (including six hotels, eight residential complexes, five mixed-use developments and four commercial buildings), a 1.2-mile waterfront marina, the Galleria shopping center, a monorail and the 35-story Capital Gate development, which will house the 200-room Hyatt at Capital Centre and 20,000 square feet of office and retail space.

From an architectural standpoint, Capital Gate will prove to be the project's most iconic feature. The tower's 35 stories are being built at an angle of 18 degrees -- more than four times the incline of the Leaning Tower of Pisa (hundreds of piles of reinforced steel drilled 100 feet below ground level will offer sufficient support).

In addition to the work under way surrounding the Exhibition Centre, substantial improvements to the venue itself recently were unveiled; for instance, the total amount of indoor exhibit space has doubled and now stands at approximately 540,000 square feet. The Al Bateen Channel opposite the center now allows vessels to berth alongside, and a connecting footbridge between a 1,150-foot quay now under construction will allow easy access to the facility.