On Sunday, the historic Open Skies Treaty between the United
States and the European Union will go into effect, allowing
airlines to fly without restriction between any American and
European destinations. (Intra-U.S. travel will remain restricted to
domestic carriers, though talks are under way to do away with this
rule as well.) In response to this treaty, British Airways is
readying the launch of its new "premium" transatlantic airline,
called OpenSkies, which will begin flights between Paris and New
York City this summer. The airline will add new routes and planes
A new hotel is planned for inside the IBM building in downtown
Chicago. LaSalle Hotel Properties and Oxford OG Hospitality Chicago
have purchased 12 floors of the tower and intend to convert the
space into a "super luxury hotel" with up to 335 rooms, according
to a LaSalle announcement last week. The building, along the river
two blocks west of Michigan Avenue, will be outfitted with a
separate entrance for hotel guests and exclusive hotel elevators.
Although designs are not final, current plans call for 17,000
square feet of meeting space, including a 5,000-square-foot
ballroom with river views, and a 9,000-square-foot restaurant.
Developers will strive for silver LEED certification and expect to
open the hotel in 2010.
The Sheraton Yankee Trader in Fort Lauderdale Beach, Fla., will
close June 1 to undergo renovations and will reopen in February
2009 as the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort. The rebranded
resort will include 433 guest rooms, 32,000 square feet of meeting
space, a Heavenly Spa by Westin, a Starbucks and a 4,000
square-foot rooftop terrace.
The Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta has postponed and
canceled several meetings and conventions this week in order to
make repairs to its tornado-ravaged exterior. The Clinical
Laboratory Management Association ThinkLab '08 Conference and
Exhibition and the Central Atlanta Progress Meeting have been
postponed until further notice, and the ING Georgia Marathon and
Fitness Expo on March 30 has been moved to the Georgia Dome.
Officials for the center said they are developing a timeline for
the repairs and are confident that three large meetings in the
coming weeks will go on as scheduled: the Atlanta
Journal-Constitution Auto Show (April 19-27), FIRST Robotics
(April 16-19) and the DECA International Career Development
Conference (April 26-29). Shows going on as scheduled this week
include the International Window Coverings Expo and the National
Propane Gas Association's Southeastern Convention &
International Propane Expo. Officials said no damage estimates have
been calculated yet, but a report from the Atlanta
Journal-Constitution estimated the center suffered at least
$100 million in damages.