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 6 ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 55 S O U T H C A R O L I N A With a $16 million expansion for the SMG-managed Florence Center due to break ground late this year and open Janu- ary 2018, Florence is on a roll. "The area has seen tremendous growth and the venue is prepping for a 25,000-square-foot expansion beginning late 2016 to accommodate event planners' needs," said Kendall Wall, general man- ager of the Florence Civic Center. "Our 60,000-square-foot event space and conve- nient location off I-95/I-20, along with our expansion news, has been attracting major events and national engagements." The Florence Center's 25,000-square-foot expansion will add six new meeting rooms and a second ballroom, pre-function space, additional lobby area, a 5,000-square-foot state-of-the-art kitchen and an outdoor plaza. Florence has more than 5,000 sleeping rooms, mostly concentrated along I-95. But there are 1,700 hotel rooms within easy walking distance of the Florence Civic Center as well, according to Wall. These in- clude, among others, the 190-room Ramada Florence Center, the 136-room Hampton Inn & Suites Florence Civic Center and the 87-room Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Civic Center. In addition to having considerable meet- ings infrastructure, Florence also offers plenty to do. "Florence is a thriving and lively city, bustling with excitement and en- tertainment," said Wall. n Contact: www.florenceciviccenter.com B R E A K O U T S P O T L I G H T : Florence Civic Center expansions and renovations in the past several years at Hilton Head Marriott Resort & Spa, Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island and other properties. "The recent developments on Hilton Head Island have all been done without com- promising what everyone has loved about this seaside town for 50 years: a relaxing, upscale beachside resort ambience," said Charlie Clark, vice president of communi- cations for the Hilton Head Island Visitor & Convention Bureau. "Hilton Head Island is also at the top of a lot of lists these days including being named the #1 Island in the Continental U.S by Travel + Leisure read- ers. That's a great endorsement for groups and meetings, as well as leisure travelers." And it just keeps getting better. Due to open in May 2017, the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa is adding new private event space The Grand Ocean Terrace will offer more than 5,000 square feet with seating for up to 250, an adjacent uncovered stone patio with fireplace and water feature, and an expansive beach- front deck. That will bring the property's total meeting space to more than 35,500 square feet within 20 rooms, including a 13,200-square-foot Grand Ballroom and more than 9,500 square feet of dedicated oceanfront event space. Altogether, Hilton Head Island has more than 3,000 hotel rooms, 6,000 villas, 170,000 square feet of meeting space, more than 250 restaurants, and 12 miles of white- sand beaches. n