November 02, 2005

Last week the American Library Association announced an agreement to bring its 20,000-attendee convention to New Orleans next June. The citywide event will use approximately 7,500 rooms per night. Also signing a contract for a June meeting in the city was the Air & Waste Management Conference & Exhibition. The association expects 2,500 attendees.

Plans are in the works for a $100 million renovation to the historic Palmer House Hilton in Chicago. Preliminary features of the project include an overhaul of the hotel's 22,000 square feet of meeting space by spring 2006, a complete guest room renovation over four years, the construction of a 13,000-square-foot spa and the development of street-level retail space. In August, New York City-based Thor Equities purchased the 1,600-room Palmer House for $230 million from Hilton, which will continue to manage the property. A spokesperson for Hilton said finalized plans could be announced within the next two months.

The InterContinental Chicago hotel will receive a new 71-story hotel-condominium tower, pending zoning approval, according to Strategic Hotel Capital Inc. Strategic, the property's majority owner, said the new tower would replace the existing north tower and would offer approximately 150 luxury hotel suites and more than 300 condos. The 330-room south tower will receive a significant renovation as part of the redevelopment and will remain open throughout much of the construction process, which isn't expected to start before mid-2007.

Construction began yesterday on the 470-room Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel in the city's seaport district, one block from the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. The $140 million property is expected to open in spring 2007.

The 260-room St. Regis San Francisco opened yesterday next to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The property offers the 9,000-square-foot Remède Spa, 15,000 square feet of meeting space and two outdoor terraces for events.

Hotel Indigo representatives announced a new-build design concept yesterday, opening the formerly conversion-only brand to a wider pool of franchise opportunities. The third property in InterContinental Hotel Group's boutique line opens in Palatine, Ill., with five other conversions under way or contracted. The brand's development team hopes the model for ground-up construction will result in the opening of 12 to 15 new Hotel Indigo properties by the end of 2006.

The 245-room Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa, reopened yesterday after a six-month renovation to its guest rooms. The property, on a private beach on Bahrain's north coast, offers 36,244 square feet of meeting space.

The Convention Industry Council has added its 31st member organization. The International Association of Protocol Consultants, officially accepted Oct. 26, serves people in charge of protocol and etiquette at meetings. With the addition of IAPC, the CIC's members represent 16,500 firms and properties, comprising more than 100,000 individuals involved in the meetings industry.