OCT 2016

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 ⎜ O C T O B E R 2 0 1 6 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 52 G E O R G I A and kayak rentals, and fishing. Meinhardt Vineyards & Winery, out in the countryside just beyond city limits, has award-winning wines, tours and a tasting bar. Other smaller cities in the southern and central sections of the state include Tifton, Warner Robins and Perry. Perry is home to the award-winning Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter, a first-class facility designed for meetings, trade shows, livestock events, horse shows, fairs, concerts, sporting events and more. Warner Robins is home to the Middle Georgia Conference Center, Homer J. Walker Civic Center and the Wellston Center Audito- rium, along with several modestly sized hotels. Tifton has two conference centers, including one associated with the University of Georgia satellite campus, and more than 1,000 hotel rooms. Columbus In the west-central part of the state, Colum- bus offers numerous attractions and meeting spaces. City leaders created the longest urban whitewater course in the world on the Chatta- hoochee River, as well as the 15-mile Chatta- hoochee RiverWalk. Other attractions include the National Civil War Naval Museum at Port Columbus, the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center, the Coca-Cola Space Science Center, the historic Springer Opera House and the Columbus Historic District with its pleasant mix of architectural styles. The Columbus Georgia Convention and Trade Center has 182,000 square feet of floor space and 17 meeting rooms. It's located in the historic Columbus Iron Works, a former 19th-century manufacturing facility on the banks of the Chattahoochee. The 10,000-seat Columbus Civic Center boasts 5,000 square feet in its hospitality suites. An equally state- of-the-art venue is the Cunningham Center, of- fering a banquet hall with approximately 5,500 square feet, six seminar rooms, an executive boardroom and four computer training labs. The RiverCenter for the Performing Arts has a 2,000-seat theatre and a 150-seat Studio The- atre, while Legacy Hall can seat 450. "The Trade Center is located within easy walking distance of the Entertainment District in the heart of Uptown Columbus. So after you get done with business, choose from dozens of restaurants, pubs, music venues and shopping," said Peter Bowden, President/CEO of the Co- lumbus, GA CVB. n The biggest news for Athens is the anticipated Spring 2017 addition of a 192-room Hyatt Place connected to the city's primary meeting facility, The Classic Center. The new hotel will be managed by Southern Hospitality Group and will bring the total number of rooms within a one-mile radius of The Classic Center to more than 1,400. The new Hyatt Place will have about 6,000 square feet of meeting and pre-function space, as well as a full-service restaurant, rooftop bar, lobby bar and lounge. "Athens is gratified to add the new Hyatt Place, connected to The Classic Center," said Athens CVB Director Chuck Jones. "Along with The Classic Center's recent expansion and additional downtown hotels in development, all in the midst of our vibrant downtown, Athens offers more than ever to attendees and planners. We're thrilled with every new RFP, site inspection and booking we're receiving from planners who have been waiting for the connected hotel and increased hotel inventory." The 2015 ConventionSouth Readers' Choice Award-winning Classic Center is a 104,540-square-foot downtown meet- ing and entertainment venue with a new 8,000-square-foot atrium, 56,000-square- foot exhibit hall, 35 breakout rooms and a 2,100-seat theater. The Grand Hall has banquet seating for 3,000 and theatre seating for 6,000. The 440 Foundry Pavilion at The Classic Center provides a covered 18,000-square-foot space and is one of the newest outdoor event spaces in downtown Athens. The Classic Center un- derwent major renovations two years ago. The Classic Center is also home to Akins Arena, a 2,000-seat sports and entertainment venue. The Hyatt Place is not the only hotel project going on in Athens. According to Athens CVB personnel, a Homewood Suites by Hilton will add approximately 130 rooms just one block from The Classic Center as part of The Mark complex set to open in the next couple of years. A 200-room SpringHill Suites is planned for a site just a half-mile from The Classic Center. A 95-room Fairfield Inn is planned and 54 rooms are being added to the Best Western Athens, which will be converted to a Best Western Plus. When all the new hotel construction is completed, Athens will be able to boast a total of more than 3,000 hotel rooms. Athens is of course home to the Univer- sity of Georgia and Bulldog (or "Dawg" for many) fans are all over the state and beyond. The city's other assets include The State Botanical Garden of Georgia and the Georgia Museum of Art. Athens CVB Director of Sales Missy Brandt Wilson and Sales Manager Jay Boling are ready, willing and able, along with The Classic Center Director of Sales Maureen Baker, to help meeting planners make a perfect meeting happen in The Classic City. n B R E A K O U T S P O T L I G H T : The Classic Center in Athens Athens Classic Center Foundry Contact:

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