ConventionSouth

JUN 2012

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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Home NOR THWEST ARKANSAS Fort Smith Has New Spaces & Great Prices Fort Smith, the largest city in Northwest Arkansas and second-largest in the state, is located in the southernmost county of the region, close to the Oklahoma border. Claude Legris, executive director of the Fort Smith Advertising and Promotions Commission, the city's visitor center and the Fort Smith Convention Center, said, "We have just over 2,000 hotel rooms citywide and more than 700 of them are new or have been renovated in the past five years." Legris said Fort Smith has a healthy tourism and { most afford- able city in the united states in 2010. No.1 convention business, in part, because it's "very affordable." In fact, Fort Smith was rated the No. 1 "Most Affordable City in the U.S." by Kiplinger's in 2010. The Fort Smith Convention Center offers 40,000 column-free square feet of exhibit space; 18,200 square feet of meeting space; an amphithe- ater; and an 1,331-seat theater. Adjacent to it is the Holiday Inn Fort Smith - City Center has 17,000 square feet of meeting space with an 11,000-square- foot ballroom. It recently underwent an $8 million renovation and has a lobby waterfall feature. The largest and newest convention facility, however, is the Phoenix Expo Trade and Event Center, a former mall converted into a meeting facility with 115,000 square feet of event space, full on-site catering, high-speed WiFi and state-of-the-art A/V equipment. Fort Smith also offers meeting attendees a history museum and a trolley museum and the only visitors center around that's located in a former bordello. ■ Fayetteville "The newest thing in Fayetteville is the Fayetteville Underground," said Marilyn Heifner, executive direc- tor of the Fayetteville Advertising and Promo- tions Commission, who says the Underground will be an expansive collection of working artists in-studio in the state. The Underground artists plan to ren- ovate and lease space inside the GCM Building on the downtown square for use as studios and galleries. "It will be a great draw for Fayetteville and a great opportu- nity for convention goers to interact with various artists." Heifner added that Fayetteville has "a unique environment with the city square, farmerʼs market, the Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks and other gardens, a trail sys- tem, and other elements that make Fayet- teville more than your ordi- nary city." The Chan- cellor Hotel, formerly the Cosmopolitan Hotel, is un- dergoing a $10 million renova- tion and is scheduled to reopen Sept. 12 with 207 guest rooms and 14,000 square feet of meeting space. "The public space has all been gutted and all the sleeping rooms are being completely redone," ex- plains Mary Snyder, director of sales. The new hotel will attach to the University of Arkansas Global Campus at Fayetteville. The university facility offers nine confer- ence rooms totaling more than 6,500 square feet; a 350-seat and 70-seat audito- riums; a 525-square-foot boardroom; and an atrium. Fayetteville Town Center, which was remodeled last year, is a convention center offering 14,000 square feet of function space and five meeting rooms. The 200-room Fayetteville Clarion has 10,000 square feet of meeting space. ■ 32 ConventionSouth JUNE 2012 www.con v entionsouth.com Planning Directory Planner Resources Meeting Site Showcase NEW! The Chancellor Hotel Fort Smith A&P Commission The Chancellor Hotel

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