September 01, 2004

After years of being denied access to Manhattan, Wyndham International is moving in. Last week, the chain bought the lease on New York City's 136-room Wyndham Hotel, which has held exclusive rights to the Wyndham name in Manhattan since 1929, barring the chain from entering the market. Over the next year, the chain will renovate the property and decide whether to reflag the hotel as a Wyndham International property. The company also plans to raise the Wyndham flag in six Manhattan neighborhoods; the first should go up within six months.

Edwin L. Griffin Jr., CAE, former president and CEO of Meeting Professionals International, last week was named president and CEO of the Florida Hotel & Motel Association. He takes over on Oct. 1.

The Rhode Island Convention Center Authority this week will begin accepting proposals to buy and expand the 364-room Westin Providence, down the street from the Rhode Island Convention Center. The RICCA, which owns the hotel, said they hope the move will help address the local room shortage. In addition to buying and expanding the property, prospective developers also have the option of building another hotel next door to the Westin.

City officials in Biloxi, Miss. voted last week to expand the 180,000-square-foot Mississippi Coast Coliseum & Convention Center by 150,000 to 250,000 square feet. The fate of an expanded convention center now rests with voters in surrounding Harrison County who will decide in November whether to approve a 2 percent tax increase allowing the center to raise $68 million in bonds for construction work.