CarolinaDaydreamin

1000 Room Convention Center Hotel

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1 hour ago, CLT2014 said:

 

  • Marriott Marquis Houston: Supporting a 1.9 MILLION square foot convention center (6 times the size of Charlotte's)
  • Sheraton Phoenix: Supporting a 900,000 square foot convention center (2.8 times the size of Charlotte's)
  • Omni Dallas: Supporting  1 MILLION square feet of prime exhibition space and 2 million total space (3 - 6 times the size of Charlotte's)
  • JW Marriott / Ritz Los Angeles: 720,000 square foot convention center (2.25 times the size of Charlotte's)
  • Grand Hyatt San Antonio: 1.6 MILLION square foot convention center (5 times the size of Charlotte's)

To be fair to Charlotte, these are some of the biggest cities in america.  Though the Austin and Indy numbers are telling.  The Nashville Convention Center looks like it has 2 million sq. ft. and a main exhibition floor of 350k sq. ft.  So, I think you have convinced me that a long term plan for expansion of the convention center should probably come first.  Though, part of that plan should be to account for space for a 1,000 room hotel right?  I mean is it possible to build a hotel with 407 rooms for so, and leave room for expansion? :tw_joy:

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3 minutes ago, kermit said:

I wasn't aware of this either. I have never been a big fan of the convention business as an ED strategy (the industry is not growing but competition is), I will say that Charlotte has a HUGE advantage that it appears not to be taking advantage of. Our airport makes us better qualified that all but a handful of places to host meetings, its nearly criminal that CRVA has been ignoring that linkage in its convention planning.

Other things we need to be a top-tier convention site:

  1. Better transit from airport to uptown (ideally a one seat ride to this 1,000 room hotel)
  2. Totally nude strip clubs (not really joking here, its how Atlanta gets more than half its meetings)
  3. Legal pot (hey, conventions are a competitive game, you gotta give the people what they want)

1.  going to happen  2.  too significant a connection between human trafficking and strip clubs to support this (Google it)  3.  national drug policy is a mess and medicinal uses should be legal everywhere but it's too early to assess societal impact in jurisdictions where recreational use is permitted

In my opinion, Charlotte will never be a top tier convention city.  I do think we can and should position ourselves to be the best of the next tier.  We have the airport, the weather, will have the transit, etc.    

 

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3 minutes ago, ricky_davis_fan_21 said:

Really need a two floor expansion right here, and then you can add a 50 floor hotel for good measure.

This is what I am hoping for. Always thought that building was a future expansion of the Convention Center and the 50 floor hotel on to would be closer to the rest of the city attractions.

Edited by Scribe

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24 minutes ago, JBS said:

However, I don't view Charlotte as a city without attractions....two huge lakes

 

I think if Charlotte development has an 'original sin' it's that it didn't do really anything to take advantage the shoreline.  Lake Normal alone has 520 miles and there is not a single boardwalk to speak of.  It's comically sad how few waterfront restaurants we have for that much shoreline.  

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In my opinion spending any tax dollars on this is a terrible idea.  The convention center is already a terrible use of space in what is becoming prime real estate uptown (no street level retail, huge walls around it, etc.).  We should spend the money on making the city as friendly for living and visiting as possible - parks, restaurants, rail, working on the homeless issue, etc. - and not worry about these mega projects that never seem to generate a good return.  

http://www.governing.com/blogs/bfc/col-convention-center-promised-benefits-rarely-materialize.html

https://www.citylab.com/solutions/2012/06/stop-building-convention-centers/2210/

https://www.brookings.edu/research/space-available-the-realities-of-convention-centers-as-economic-development-strategy/

 

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1 minute ago, cmwilson24 said:

In my opinion spending any tax dollars on this is a terrible idea.  The convention center is already a terrible use of space in what is becoming prime real estate uptown (no street level retail, huge walls around it, etc.).  We should spend the money on making the city as friendly for living and visiting as possible - parks, restaurants, rail, working on the homeless issue, etc. - and not worry about these mega projects that never seem to generate a good return.  

2

It's my understanding that the bed tax can't be used for the things you want and that would be where 3/4 of the money would come from.  

In my opinion, cities need to paint with a broad stroke and do everything.   When cities start saying no to improvement in one area because they have drag in another area is around the same time they stop growing and shrinking.    Always Governing to the lowest common denominator is a good way to filter down to just the lowest common denominator.  

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Here is my 2¢:

If the convention center can focus on large open space then the breakout sessions can go to the surrounding hotels and NASCAR HOF.

According to their respective websites:

  • Westin has 52,000 sqft of meeting space.
  • Hilton CC has 30,000 sqft of meeting space.
  • Embacy Suites has about 30,000 sqft of event space...
  • NASCAR HOF does not list it in sfqt but says it can accommodate parties of up to 2400 people.

This new hotel, lets guestimate, will have 100,000+ sqft of meeting space.

With the expansion that @ricky_davis_fan_21 hinting at in place of the Duke prison  building, you have nearly 1million sqft of space available.

Edited by Scribe

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26 minutes ago, cmwilson24 said:

In my opinion spending any tax dollars on this is a terrible idea.  The convention center is already a terrible use of space in what is becoming prime real estate uptown (no street level retail, huge walls around it, etc.).  We should spend the money on making the city as friendly for living and visiting as possible - parks, restaurants, rail, working on the homeless issue, etc. - and not worry about these mega projects that never seem to generate a good return.  

http://www.governing.com/blogs/bfc/col-convention-center-promised-benefits-rarely-materialize.html

https://www.citylab.com/solutions/2012/06/stop-building-convention-centers/2210/

https://www.brookings.edu/research/space-available-the-realities-of-convention-centers-as-economic-development-strategy/

 

These articles, particularly the one from the Brookings Institute , are pretty compelling.  Without some evidence for the other side, I think the money is better spent elsewhere.  

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14 minutes ago, pgsinger said:

These articles, particularly the one from the Brookings Institute , are pretty compelling.  Without some evidence for the other side, I think the money is better spent elsewhere.  

Yea, I agree that as an investment, convention centers are pretty awful. 

Having said that, this money is from the bed tax, and a commitment was made to spend that revenue only on projects that increase local room-nights.  Given that restriction I think you could make a case that a convention center expansion is probably about the best use of the money you could find  (certainly has a higher room-night ROI than a new Panthers stadium, and the Panthers sale certainly drove the timing of this discussion).

The real question here is what investment of the money will generate the largest number of new visitors? (from more than a day’s drive away)

It was a serious lost opportunity not to partner with Lincoln Harris to build ballroom / exhibition space above their retail at the Observer site.

Edited by kermit
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42 minutes ago, pgsinger said:

These articles, particularly the one from the Brookings Institute , are pretty compelling.  Without some evidence for the other side, I think the money is better spent elsewhere.  

First, these studies take a hodgepodge mixture of data from different cities, with different economic outlooks and different goals and mix them into a one size fits all position.  If local government was one size fits all we would have a need for local government.  Beyond local government, each city has its own advantages and challenges.  For example, having a major HUB airport or being located in a part of the country that is home to large population centers is different than a city that has a small regional airport or is in a 'fly-over' state.

Second, Charlotte is not looking to build a silver bullet convention center to revive a beaten down Downtown.  That situation is what most of these articles reference.  If anything, the question on Uptown is growing at such a pace and is the land uptown too valuable for a hotel is what should be questioned.

Third, many of the cities referenced in these studies are using general funds to build out convention centers and hotels.  That's much different than taking a bed tax, which is a tax on visitors rather than residents, and using it to grow the number of people who stay in the area.  Which in turns produces additional bed tax revenue.  

Forth, there are rules and laws in place as to how funds can be used.  So while you may look at that pool of funds and say it would be great to use that to build parks or some sort of outreach center, it's not legally allowed.  So your wants really can't be considered.  

 

 

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Currently, overall attendance at the 200 largest tradeshow events languishes at 1993 levels.

16 minutes ago, cjd5050 said:

Charlotte is not looking to build a silver bullet convention center to revive a beaten down Downtown.  That situation is what most of these articles reference.  

 

 

Really?  FTA: "Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh and Seattle" have beaten down downtowns (downtown Atlanta is a joke, but for different, beaten-to-death reasons)?

 

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1 hour ago, kermit said:

Yea, I agree that as an investment, convention centers are pretty awful. 

Having said that, this money is from the bed tax, and a commitment was made to spend that revenue only on projects that increase local room-nights.  Given that restriction I think you could make a case that a convention center expansion is probably about the best use of the money you could find  (certainly has a higher room-night ROI than a new Panthers stadium, and the Panthers sale certainly drove the timing of this discussion).

The real question here is what investment of the money will generate the largest number of new visitors? (from more than a day’s drive away)

It was a serious lost opportunity not to partner with Lincoln Harris to build ballroom / exhibition space above their retail at the Observer site.

Thanks - helpful to know the details of the bed tax and that does change my opinion if it has to be spent on something.  I walked all around the convention center recently and I'm probably just a bit grumpy about how terrible the street scape is all around it - several blocks that are just a complete dead zone.  It's literally a fortress surrounded by walls.  

Edited by cmwilson24

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29 minutes ago, Tyrone Wiggum said:

Currently, overall attendance at the 200 largest tradeshow events languishes at 1993 levels.

Really?  FTA: "Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh and Seattle" have beaten down downtowns (downtown Atlanta is a joke, but for different, beaten-to-death reasons)?

1

I was not talking about cities like Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, et al.  

I was speaking about cities like Buffalo NY, Greenville SC, Dayton OH and Grand Rapids MI.  

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4 hours ago, CLT2014 said:

The expansion doesn't improve the size of our small prime exhibit space though which brings in the mega conventions. While any space is an improvement, the expansion further supports Charlotte's place in the convention world for niche conventions and smaller groups. The expansion is a drop in the bucket compared to the expansions going on in other cities across the country and ALMOST helps us crack the top 50 in size. 

"The $110 million expansion would add 26,000 square feet of smaller meeting rooms and 15,000 square feet to host pre-event receptions."
https://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/news/2017/09/11/clt-convention-center-expansion-to-begin-in-2019.html

We currently have 280,000 sq. feet of space and will be up to 321,000 with these smaller rooms added. Let's look at other cities that invested in a 1,000 room hotel:

  • Marriott Marquis Houston: Supporting a 1.9 MILLION square foot convention center (6 times the size of Charlotte's)
  • Sheraton Phoenix: Supporting a 900,000 square foot convention center (2.8 times the size of Charlotte's)
  • Omni Dallas: Supporting  1 MILLION square feet of prime exhibition space and 2 million total space (3 - 6 times the size of Charlotte's)
  • JW Marriott / Ritz Los Angeles: 720,000 square foot convention center (2.25 times the size of Charlotte's)
  • Grand Hyatt San Antonio: 1.6 MILLION square foot convention center (5 times the size of Charlotte's)
  • JW Marriott Indianapolis: 600,000 square foot convention center + Lucas Oil Stadium (2 times the size of Charlotte's)
  • JW Marriott Austin: 881,000 square foot convention center (2.8 times the size of Charlotte's)

etc..... 

I can't think of any US city with a 1,000+ room convention center hotel attached to a convention center that doesn't even rank in the top 50 in the country for size (even after our planned expansion). So we will have a massive hotel attached to a convention center that can barely accommodate national fraternity/ sorority meetings and regional high school volleyball tournaments... let alone conventions with massive booths for the defense industry, manufacturing, auto industry, aerospace, etc... that bring in the big bucks.

Are you using total square feet or exhibit space?..something seems off because I am certain Charlotte's convention center is over 500k?...need a fact check.

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6 minutes ago, Durhamite said:

Are you using total square feet or exhibit space?..something seems off because I am certain Charlotte's convention center is over 500k?.

You are right, their own website lists it as having 550,000 sqft  http://www.charlotteconventionctr.com/about-charlotte-convention-center

  • 280,000 square feet of exhibit space that can be separated into four halls, each with an individual show office.
  • 126,500 square feet of flexible meeting space, which includes 37 meetings rooms, the 35,000-square-foot Richardson Ballroom (can be separated into three rooms) and the 40,000-square-foot Crown Ballroom, for a total of 41 breakout rooms.
  • Pre-function space totaling 90,800 square feet, which includes both indoor and outdoor space options.
  • 43,000 square feet of concourse space that can be used for registration or other components of your program.
  • Six VIP show offices, which total approximately 5,700 square feet, overlooking the exhibit halls.
  • Approximately 4,000 square feet of space in the Delish Food Court, which offers Einstein Bros. Bagels, Buon Cibo, Bojangles’ Famous Chicken ‘n Biscuits and Starbucks.

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25 minutes ago, cjd5050 said:

I was speaking about cities like Buffalo NY, Greenville SC, Dayton OH and Grand Rapids MI.  

#1 - Hodgepodge = Representative Sample.  You have to take a hodgepodge of examples or you end up cherry picking your inputs.  Also, were any of these cities mentioned in those articles other than the reference Buffalo not being able to keep up with Chicago?  The point is regardless of purpose (rebuild a downtrodden area, be competitive for national conventions, etc.) demand for convention space has remained static while supply has increased.  Almost everyone of the centers cited fell short of anticipated hotel nights.

#2 - Tyronne addressed.

#3/4 - Money is fungible.  A tax on visitors of "x" ear marked for generating hotel rooms can be replaced by a tax on visitors of "x" for use for infrastructure, greenways, parks, or whatever the county/city wants (even economic incentives for new employers).  The visitors are not saying we are not going to pay "x" in taxes because it is earmarked for things that benefit local residents as opposed to potential future visitors.  They will just look at the total costs.  Additionally, since this will mostly be paid out of future bed tax revenues, it makes even more sense that the tax can be reallocated for other uses.  Obviously, there is political risk in changing the purpose, but in my opinion, it is doable.

Edited by pgsinger

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3 minutes ago, pgsinger said:

#1 - Hodgepodge = Representative Sample.  You have to take a hodgepodge of examples or you end up cherry picking your inputs.  Also, were any of these cities mentioned in those articles other than the reference Buffalo not being able to keep up with Chicago?  

#2 - Tyronne addressed.

#3/4 - Money is fungible.  A tax on visitors of "x" ear marked for generating hotel rooms can be replaced by a tax on visitors of "x" for use for infrastructure, greenways, parks, or whatever the county/city wants (even economic incentives for new employers).  The visitors are not saying we are not going to pay "x" in taxes because it is earmarked for things that benefit local residents as opposed to potential future visitors.  They will just look at the total costs.  Additionally, since this will mostly be paid out of future bed tax revenues, it makes even more sense that the tax can be reallocated for other uses.  Obviously, there is political risk in changing the purpose, but in my opinion, it is doable.

    The city can't just change how the bed tax is spent, it is legally required to be spent on items that increase need rooms.      In your idea the bed tax would have to be repealed and then recreated to be spend on another area. Which in my opinion would be a horrible idea. It would set a very bad precedent. 

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28 minutes ago, cmwilson24 said:

Thanks - helpful to know the details of the bed tax and that does change my opinion if it has to be spent on something.  I walked all around the convention center recently and I'm probably just a bit grumpy about how terrible the street scape is all around it - several blocks that are just a complete dead zone.  It's literally a fortress surrounded by walls.  

Yea, its pretty awful at streetlevel.

I attended one of the first events at the then new convention center (I think it was 1997, several years before I moved here), at the time nobody cared about the streetscape, I think because there was so little streetlife in Uptown. Stayed at the Adams Mark (now Sharaton), we had lots of trouble finding things to do. The highlights of the trip were a Knights game (down in Ft Mill), a trip to Lupies and drinks at Dilworth Brewery (where Bakersfield is now). There was basically nothing to do (that was evident) uptown. 

To this day (20+ years later) people I meet at this annual meeting hear that I live in Charlotte and frequently comment how boring Charlotte was in 1997.  The organization has not returned to Charlotte despite a need for a Southeastern meeting site.

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4 minutes ago, kermit said:

To this day (20+ years later) people I meet at this annual meeting hear that I live in Charlotte and frequently comment how boring Charlotte was in 1997.  The organization has not returned to Charlotte despite a need for a Southeastern meeting site.

Sounds like you failed at pointing out how much Charlotte has improved and in general promoting Charlotte... maybe it is not too late?? ;)

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35 minutes ago, Durhamite said:

Are you using total square feet or exhibit space?..something seems off because I am certain Charlotte's convention center is over 500k?...need a fact check.

Yes, you are correct my apologies.

Here are the top 40 Mega Convention Centers in the USA (350,000 sq. feet of prime exhibit space required to qualify):
http://www.tradeshowexecutive.com/pdf/convcenters/TSX-ConvCenters_2015-08.pdf

Outside of the Top 40, Charlotte ranks #6 among the Tier III convention centers (centers with 125,000 - 350,000 sq. feet of prime exhibit space):
http://www.tradeshowexecutive.com/pdf/convcenters/TSX-ConvCenters_2015-02.pdf

Based off the lists, I think Austin looks like it is the only Tier III convention center with a 1,000+ room convention center hotel. The Gaylord Nashville Convention Center is a 1,000+ room hotel with a Tier III space as well (though downtown Nashville's Convention Center is a Tier II). Portland, Pittsburgh, Greenville, SC, Baltimore, Seattle, Fort Worth, etc... that our in the same Tier don't have 1,000+ room hotels. 

Edited by CLT2014
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3 minutes ago, Scribe said:

Sounds like you failed at pointing out how much Charlotte has improved and in general promoting Charlotte... maybe it is not too late?? ;)

I didn't fail, it was intentional. A local meeting would be tons of extra work for me -- screw that.

(while it has certainly improved we still can't come close to competing with Chicago, Boston, New Orleans, etc.)

Edited by kermit

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1 minute ago, kermit said:

I didn't fail, it was intentional. A local meeting would be tons of extra work for me -- screw that.

But, but, but... did you not read the EULA agreement for this forum? It is pretty darn clear that you must promote Charlotte at all and any opportunity that comes up ...

I think we might have to take this up with the mods+admins /sarc ;) (before I get pilloried)

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