NOV 2015

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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N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 5 ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 39 S O U T H C A R O L I N A purpose performing arts center, with four new hotels open or opening in 2015 and two due to open early 2016, which will add to the area's nearly 16,000 existing guest rooms. The Charleston Gaillard Center recently reopened following a $142 million major reconstruction. The facility now has a concert hall that seats 1,800 and a multi-use meeting and exhibition space. The grand opening gala performance on Oct. 18 featured famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Charleston's newest hotels include the 41-room The Spectator Hotel (opened July 2015); the 50-room Grand Bohemian Hotel Charleston, featuring a rooftop restaurant and terrace (August 2015); the 190-room Hyatt Place Charleston – Historic District, featur- ing more than 8,500 square feet of meeting and event space at Sterling Hall (September 2015); the Hyatt House Charleston – Historic District, a 113-guest room lodging with fully equipped kitchens, also accessible to Sterling Hall meeting space (September 2015). The 160-room The Dewberry, a major renovation of the L. Mendel Rivers Federal Building, one of the tallest buildings in the city, will feature "extensive banquet and meeting facilities" as well as a rooftop spa, pool and fitness center (early 2016) and the 192-room Beach Club at Charleston Resort & Marina will feature extra-large rooms and a 33-seat custom theater (early 2016). Charleston has a conveniently compact convention center campus in North Charleston, where the Charleston Area Convention Cen- ter, North Charleston Performing Arts Center, North Charleston Coliseum and Embassy Suites Hotel are located, about 15 minutes from the heart of Charleston itself. The city is also chock full of restaurants and nightlife spots, arts and cultural offerings, all manner of outdoor recreational opportunities and, of course, lots of people, places, and things to bring the past alive. Charleston Meeting Space: • Charleston Area Convention Center: 73,000 square feet of meeting and event space including a 77,000-square-foot exhibit hall • Embassy Suites by Hilton Charleston Airport Hotel & Convention Center: 255 guest suites; 3,500 square feet of meeting space • Embassy Suites Hotel: 325 guest rooms; 35,000 square feet of function space; named one of ConventionSouth's Top New Renovated Meeting Facilities in the South for 2014 • Charleston Gaillard Center: 1,800-seat performing arts venue Greenville Greenville is an upstate South Carolina city with an extraordinary culinary profile, an exuberant arts community, appealing outdoor recreation in its rolling foothills landscape and a ConventionSouth Readers' Choice award- winning CVB. "With 36 Greenvilles in the U.S., we will proudly share that we're not just any Greenville, we're 'YeahTHATgreenville!" said Visit- GreenvilleSC Chief Marketing Officer Jennifer Stilwell, referencing the city's distinctive ➤ Columbia/Brett Flashnik Columbia's flame logo and "Famously Hot" tagline suit this sometimes over- looked but increasingly hot destination city in the central part of the Palmetto State. Meeting planners will work with a 2014 ConventionSouth Readers' Choice award-winning CVB. As South Carolina's capital city and home to the University of South Carolina, there's always plenty going on in Columbia. Three big projects either just finished or underway include: • University of South Carolina Alumni Center – The new $26 million alumni center, across from the Columbia Met- ropolitan Convention Center, opened in the summer of 2015 and features 60,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space, including 13 meeting rooms. • Spirit Communications Park – Con- struction is underway on a new ballpark to serve as home field for the Columbia Fireflies, a newly designated Minor League Baseball team affiliated with the New York Mets. Slated to open in April 2016, the ballpark will be part of a multi-purpose downtown development expected to feature at least one hotel, restaurants and retail operations. • Riverbanks Zoo and Garden – The second phase of a $36 million expansion of Columbia's award-winning zoologi- cal park is underway and expected to be completed during 2016. Phase II of the Destination Riverbanks project will include a three-acre children's garden and a seal/sea lion exhibit modeled after San Francisco's Pier 39. Columbia's downtown convention cen- ter, technically the only one in the state in a central downtown location, earns acco- lades from event planners and conference attendees. "Conference groups love our downtown convention center and its close proximity to restaurants, shopping, entertainment and nightlife," said Columbia Metropolitan CVB executive director Jason Outman. "Every week, it seems, we hear of plans for another restaurant or shop. There is so much growth happening right now, yet we've managed to retain our small-city charm and genuine Southern hospitality." Contact: Riverbanks Zoo B R E A K O U T S P O T L I G H T : Columbia

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