June 04, 2008

ASAE chairman-elect Donald Shea has resigned from the board of directors, effective June 1, citing an "inability to devote the time and energy to serve ASAE," according to the association. The action followed his resignation from his post as president and CEO of the Rubber Manufacturers Association in February. An ASAE committee will meet later this month to discuss candidates to replace Shea as the 2008-2009 chairman. A spokesperson for ASAE did not have details about Shea's future plans.

In Indianapolis, ground has been broken on a 1,623-room hotel complex with four Marriott properties, including a 1,005-room JW Marriott, connected to the expanding Indiana Convention Center. A 294-room Courtyard by Marriott, a 168-room Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, and a 156-room Springhill Suites by Marriott will open in early 2010; the JW Marriott will follow in early 2011. The complex will have more than 100,000 square feet of meeting space. Convention officials hope the increased hotel supply will help the city retain events such as the National FFA Convention, which attracts 50,000 attendees and is booked in Indianapolis through 2012. Representatives from the National FFA Organization, formerly known as Future Farmers of America, will tour the city next week as they consider moving their convention to Louisville, Ky., beginning in 2013. Despite the new construction, last month organizers of the Performance Racing Industry trade show announced they would not return to Indianapolis when new facilities open in 2010 as originally planned. The show moved to Orlando in 2005 when it outgrew the existing convention center and still will be too large for the expanded Indiana Convention Center.

Development group Coastal Marina LLC will purchase Atlantic City's Trump Marina Hotel Casino from Trump Entertainment Resorts. The $316 million deal stipulates that prior litigation between the two companies be dropped. Coastal Marina intends to refurbish the 728-room property and rebrand it under Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville flag; further details will be announced after the company secures regulatory approvals and the deal closes. Previous owner Trump Resorts still owns Trump Taj Mahal and Trump Plaza casino resorts in the city, and company officials now are "closely evaluating the variety of options" afforded by the cash infusion, according to a statement by CEO Mark Juliano.

Procurement departments have a significant impact on incentive programs, according to a study conducted by the Incentive Research Foundation. Three quarters of the 75 incentive professionals surveyedæsaid the level of involvement by procurement has increased over the past two years, and 67 percent expect that level to increase by 2010. In other findings, 59 percent of those polled felt procurement's involvement had a negative impact on their programs. Among the concerns they cited: Procurement departments emphasize costs of programs at the expense of results; they don't understand the incentive business;æand their involvement dampened the creativity ofæthe events and had a negative impact on incentive planners' ability to create and implement their programs. The online survey was conducted by the IRF in March and April.

The Convention Industry Council has named Talley Management Group as its new management company. CIC will relocate to Talley's Alexandria, Va., office. Talley currently manages 22 national and international associations.

The 614-room Westin St. Francis, built in 1904 in San Francisco's Union Square neighborhood, has begun a $40 million restoration. This summer, the hotel's lobby will be renovated and the new 1,260-square-foot Clock Bar will be added. Approximately $9 million will be spent on renovating guest rooms, which will feature Westin Heavenly Beds, 37-inch flat-screen TVs and redesigned furnishings; this work is expected to finish up by spring 2009. Other upgrades include the installation of wireless Internet access throughout the hotel and a revamp of the property's 56,000 square feet of function space.

The 466-room W Atlanta-Midtown held its grand opening Sunday. The property includes a 4,000-square-foot Bliss Spa, chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Spice Market restaurant and 30,000 square feet of meeting space. Next to Midtown Mile and Piedmont Park, the hotel also offers a Whiskey Park bar, a W Living Room nightclub, a pool and a 1,400-square-foot gym.

The Joule, a new member of Starwood's Luxury Collection, has opened in downtown Dallas in a building that debuted in 1927 as a bank. The 129-room property's restaurant comes from celebrity chef Charlie Palmer. The hotel has 2,300 square feet of meeting space.