ConventionSouth

APR 2017

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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⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ A P R I L 2 0 1 7 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 50 F L O R I D A offers jet boat rides, jet ski rentals and group on- the-water sightseeing tours. Southwest Florida International Airport, only a half hour from Naples, is served by four major U.S. airlines, as well as six limited-service air- lines and several international carriers. The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel Offering 50 miles of beaches and Gulf Coast is- lands, the Fort Myers area has many large resorts and 12,000-plus hotel rooms, mostly on proper- ties with exceptional recreational amenities. The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel area in South- west Florida includes its namesake locales and nine other vacation-worthy spots, among them Captiva Island, Bonita Springs, Estero, Cape Coral and Pine Island. Several area properties have undergone recent major renovations and additions. The Sundial Beach Resort & Spa on Sanibel Island completed a multi-million-dollar renovation that included a new Kay Casperson Lifestyle Spa and Boutique, fitness center and HydroGrid tennis courts. The property has 12,000 square feet of meeting space and four on-site restaurants. A triple waterslide and lazy river pool complex opened at Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa in Bonita Springs, increasing the resort's total pool area to three acres. The 454-room prop- erty sits on 26 acres overlooking Estero Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, and offers 82,500 square feet of inside and outside meeting and event space. Also in Bonita Springs, The Southwest Florida Performing Arts Center opened last year with 20,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, a banquet capacity for 650 people, a culi- nary test kitchen and an Italian-themed celebri- ty-chef restaurant. Two prominent new projects are expected by late 2018. The Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village is adding 30 guest rooms to its current 263, as well as creating a new 30,000-square-foot conference center with a 13,000-square-foot ballroom to complement the property's current 15,000 square feet of multifunctional space. The property boasts an 18,000-square-foot outdoor terrace overlooking the Caloosahatchee River estuary. Also, the 12-story 225-room Fort Myers Har- borside Hotel, a luxury Autograph Collection property, is planned with 22,000 square feet of function space, a rooftop bar, a signature restau- The redevelopment timeline for the Miami Beach Convention Center (MBCC) continues to get clearer. According to Matt Hollander, general manager of the facility, MBCC is reopening in May through November this year for a modest number of events that are already booked, before closing to outside business in order to handle Art Basel, a pop- ular arts show that occurs in December. After that, MBCC will revert back to operating other limited events until finally opening up the entire renovated facility, likely in late 2018 or early 2019. During this timeframe, the convention center will be operating out of the half of the facility that's already renovated. "It's a very exciting time – truly reimaging what the convention center is and will be," said Hollander. "There's not a single part of the building going untouched through this renovation process. It's been a challenge but we're working very hard to keep everyone informed and up to date and make everything as painless as possible. But the building is going to be something spectacular!" In addition to the major design, tech and structural renovations, about 140,000 ad- ditional square feet are being added to the building, including a new grand ballroom. The exhibit hall flooring is being replaced, and all of the underground utilities have been updated. "All of the technology is being upgraded to state-of-the-art," said Hollander. "The telecommunications infra- structure is now a very robust fiber back- bone throughout the building, running on redundant paths. The exhibit hall show floor has greatly enhanced connectivity. All the audio-visual equipment in the building has been replaced with new technology. We can capture an audio or visual signal anywhere in the building and send it through the digital network. And there's a new distributed an- tenna system being installed for cellular carri- ers and a greatly enhanced Wi-Fi network." But Hollander stressed that the renovation is as much about the service model as the building. "The building we're doing and the overall service model we're developing to support it are going to be a real game changer that elevates Miami Beach to the pinnacle for the convention and meetings industry," Hol- lander said. The reimagined convention facility will feature: • 500,000 square feet of exhibit space • One 60,000-square-foot ballroom • Three 20,000-square-foot junior ballrooms • 60,000 square feet of breakout meeting spaces • 700+ on-site rooftop parking spaces • A small park across the street, converted from an area that is currently being used for parking. n B R E A K O U T S P O T L I G H T : Miami Beach Convention Center Contact: www.MiamiBeachConvention.com

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