March 16, 2005

On Monday, about 500 Indianapolis-area hospitality workers rallied inside the Indiana Statehouse to urge legislators to fund an expansion of the Indiana Convention Center. In a piece of political theater staged by the Indianapolis Convention & Visitor Association, chefs, doormen, maids and front desk personnel -- all in uniform -- chanted "Fund it now!" Recently, a bill to pay for the expansion failed to get a hearing in the Indiana House of Representatives. "We need to expand in order to retain our largest clients and attract new business," said an ICVA spokesperson.

Oakland, Calif.'s city council will be voting in June on whether to close the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center, the city administrator announced last week. The possibility is one of several avenues being considered to heal the city's financial debt, but several council members already see the venue as a formidable burden. The center costs more than $1 million a year to operate and only generates between $500,000 and $600,000 in annual revenue. Manette Belliveau, executive director of the Oakland Convention & Visitors Bureau, noted the venue is not the city's primary convention facility and functions chiefly as the smaller of two local event venues. "However," she said, "we certainly would hate to see a public facility close, especially one with the history of the Kaiser Center."

Voters in the city of Beverly Hills have approved plans for a new luxury property one block north of Wilshire Boulevard. The 214-room Montage Hotel will offer a 19,700-square-foot spa and 9,630 square feet of meeting space. Also bundled into the package will be a 24,000-square-foot plot of city-owned retail, restaurant and commercial space; 33,000 square feet of public gardens and a 1,172-car parking garage. No opening date has been set.

The 2,126-room Tropicana Casino & Resort in Atlantic City announced the implementation of a dress code for guests visiting The Quarter, the property's $280 million entertainment area that opened in November. The dress code is effective weekends and holidays after 11:00 p.m. Guests are instructed not to wear "baggy jeans, work-style boots or shoes, T-shirts, inappropriate athletic gear and other clothing deemed inappropriate," a Tropicana press release stated. The ban does not apply to the property's casino areas.