The Sheraton and Four Points by Sheraton hotel brands now will
be smoke-free throughout the U.S., Caribbean and Canada. To prepare
for the new policy, approximately 8,000 rooms across the two flags
will beextensively cleaned. Both brands will be completely
smoke-free by year's end. Sheraton and Four Points by Sheraton join
sister brand Westin, which implemented a smoke-free policy in
The Convention Industry Council's Accepted Practices Exchange
has launched version 3.0 of the APEX Toolbox. The upgrade fully
integrates the Toolbox with Microsoft's Office 2007 and Vista
platforms and incorporates all APEX data standards. Registered
users of the software's earlier versions can upgrade to 3.0 for
free. For instructions and information, visit conventionindustry.org/APEX/Toolbox/Toolbox_v3.htm.
Members of Nashville's Metro Council voted last week to fund
predevelopment work on a new $635 million convention center, hotel
and parking garage. Preliminary work includes drawing up
architectural plans and determining other details for the center.
The project will be funded using the four new occupancy taxes that
were approved last year. The push to build a new facility was
supported by a 2006 report that said the city had lost out on 250
events over the last five years because of the limited size and age
of the 21-year-old Nashville Convention Center, which has 118,000
square feet of exhibit space, 24 meeting rooms and one ballroom.
The proposed facility will have 375,000 square feet of exhibit
space, 75 to 100 meeting rooms, two ballrooms, a 3,000-seat theater
and two 1,000-space parking garages. A final vote to approve
construction and to issue bonds to pay for the center will take
place later this year or in early 2009. The city hopes to open the
new center by 2012.
The Chartres Lodging Group, previously called Oxford Lodging
Advisory & Investment, has completed the purchase of the five
remaining Adam's Mark hotels in Dallas, Denver, Indianapolis, St.
Louis and Buffalo, N.Y. Both the Dallas and Denver hotels will
become Sheratons this spring; the 1,840-room Dallas property is
undergoing an $87 million renovation, and $70 million is being
spent on the 1,225-room Denver hotel. The 910-room Adam's Mark St.
Louis will become the Hyatt Regency St. Louis Riverfront following
a $63 million renovation. For now, the Indianapolis and Buffalo
properties will remain under the Adam's Mark flag. The 406-room
Adam's Mark Indianapolis will be rebranded following an $18 million
renovation, but the new flag has not yet been chosen. A renovation
also is planned for the 486-room Adam's Mark Buffalo-Niagara, but
no name change is in the offing, and the amount of money being
spent there was not released.
The Dallas City Council votes today to buy land for a much
needed convention center hotel. A yes vote would authorize
obtaining $500,000 from the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau
to spend on a contract to purchase an 8.34-acre tract. The actual
land, to be purchased by Sept. 30, would cost almost $40 million,
according to the Dallas Morning News. CVB president and
CEO Phillip Jones has said the American Heart Association
tentatively has agreed to bring its convention to the city in 2013
and 2017 if a headquarters hotel is built.
Chicago developer Jerry Fogelson wants to build a 3,000-room
hotel connected to McCormick Place. Fogelson owns the last major
piece of undeveloped property along Lake Shore Drive north of the
convention center and has held preliminary discussions with the
Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority and the city about a
multibillion-dollar development that would include residential,
office and retail space along with the hotel. A monorail also is in
his plans, to connect to the city's commuter rail system and to
downtown. The so-called Gateway development would not only add
needed rooms near McCormick Place but would bring in restaurants
and other amenities for attendees, said Fogelson. Construction
would not begin before next year and could take a decade to
complete, if approved.
Ground has been broken on the $333-million Seneca Buffalo Creek
Casino and Hotel in downtown Buffalo, N.Y. Features of the
development include a three-story, 90,000-square-foot casino; a
206-suite hotel; a three-acre public park; four restaurants; a spa,
and a 2,500-vehicle garage. The casino and hotel are scheduled to
open in spring and summer 2010, respectively.
The Monte Carlo hotel-casino in Las Vegas, closed since a fire
damaged the facade and some rooms on the upper floors on Jan. 25,
will reopen this Friday. At least 1,200 of the 3,000 guest rooms
will be available, with an additional 1,300 rooms reopening by Feb.
22. The hotel will perform more extensive renovations of the
remaining 500 rooms, which were most affected by the fire; they
will be closed until further notice. Most facilities will be up and
running as of Friday, including all meeting facilities, the casino,
the wedding chapel, the spa and Lance Burton's magic show. The only
dining outlets not slated to open by Friday are the buffet and the
Monte Carlo Brew Pub, both of which will open by Feb. 22.