by Sarah J.F. Braley | May 20, 2016

Ground was broken this week on the 330-room Convention Center Hilton Hotel in Downtown Des Moines, which will be connected by skywalk to the Iowa Events Center. The property will open in spring 2018. The groundbreaking was hosted by the project's main developers: the Iowa Events Center Corporation Board, the Polk County Board of Supervisors, the City of Des Moines, the Weitz Co., the Des Moines Redevelopment Corp., the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Downtown Community Alliance and the Greater Des Moines Partnership.

According to the Des Moines Register, a nonprofit consortium will own the hotel and will be governed by a seven-member board of local business professionals - five appointed by the county and two appointed by the city. Hilton will report to the board.

"This will be a great addition to the long list of first-class facilities and hotels that Greater Des Moines offers convention, event and sports planners," said Greg Edwards, president and CEO of the GDMCVB and the Des Moines Area Sports Commission. "We are excited to have a connecting hotel to the Iowa Events Center and know that in the long term it will benefit the entire metro [area]."

The property, which will have a 10,000-square-foot ballroom, will host the 2018 Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives Annual Convention, expected to bring more than 1,000 delegates to the city.

"The attached convention center hotel will enhance our ability to attract larger regional and national conventions to Des Moines," said Spectra's Chris Connolly, general manager of the Iowa Events Center. "We look forward to working closely with the Greater Des Moines Convention & Visitors Bureau and Hilton on bringing business to Des Moines that will impact the entire region."

The Iowa Events Center -- made up of Hy-Vee Hall, the Wells Fargo Arena and the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center -- features a 29,000-square-foot ballroom, 14,000 square feet of pre-function space, 37 meeting rooms and a 150,000-square-foot exhibit hall. Once the new Hilton hotel opens, the city will have more than 2,400 guest rooms downtown.