May 03, 2006

Two feasibility studies have been commissioned in Indiana to analyze the construction of new meeting facilities. The Bloomington Convention and Visitors Bureau has co-sponsored a study to review building a 250- to 300-room hotel with meeting space that would connect to the Bloomington Convention Center. The study is expected to be complete within the next two weeks. The Lake County Convention and Visitors Bureau has hired the consulting firm HVS International to review the merits of building a convention center with at least 125,000 square feet of meeting space. Speros A. Batistatos, president and CEO of the CVB, said places like Lake County, if equipped with proper facilities, could snag a lot of business from small or midsize conventions and meetings that are being driven out of Chicago and Indianapolis by increasing hotel room rates. Cities under consideration for the convention center are Gary and Merrillville.

Hilton Hotels Corp., which will manage the new Branson (Mo.) Convention Center, has selected Viper Tradeshow Services as its preferred general contractor. The convention center is scheduled to open in August 2007.