JUN 2012

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2012 Sneak Peek Directory Subscribe Advertise DOWNTOWN's Cowboys & Culture The downtown region of Fort Worth now offers 150 hotels and 15,000 rooms city-wide and of- fers a uncommon combination of cowboys and culture to entice groups looking for memorable and out of the ordinary, said David DuBois, CEO of the Fort Worth CVB. "We are truly the only city that brands our- selves as a showcase of Western culture," he said, adding that the city offers a wide array of cul- tural experiences. "You can go to a world-class museum like Kimbell or visit the Stockyards or experience a year-round rodeo." The city is witnessing a number of new devel- opments, starting with the expansion of the Will Rogers Memorial Center, which opened in May. The new Equestrian Multi-Purpose Building is part of a $32 million construction and infrastruc- ture improvement campaign to the 85-acre facil- ity that hosts an extensive variety of cultural, education, recreational and sporting events for in excess of 2 million visitors each year. The center is located in the Cultural District and is home to the Will Rogers Coliseum, Auditorium, Eques- trian Center and Amon G. Carter Jr. Exhibits Building, offering 100,000 square feet of con- tiguous exhibit space. Also in the works is the Trinity River Vision project just north of downtown, a master plan de- velopment project to create Trinity Uptown. The initiative calls for a vibrant urban waterfront neighborhood and an expansion of Gateway Park into one of the largest urban-programmed parks in the nation. The project will open over the next decade and will enhance the river corridor with more than 90 projects along the Trinity Trails. Scheduled to open in mid-2013, the Kimbell Art Museum is undergoing a $125 million ex- pansion that will approximately double the gallery space needed for exhibitions and display- ing the full permanent collection. Considered "America's Best Small Museum," Kimbell's col- lection consists of about 350 works that epito- mize various eras. The new building will add stature to the already architecturally impressive Cultural District of Fort Worth, home to existing museums like the Fort Worth Museum of Sci- ence and History. For meeting groups, the Fort Worth Conven- tion Center remains the primary convention facil- ity in the city. Spanning a 14-block area in the heart of downtown, the state-of-the-art facility is www.con v in walking distance of thousands of hotel rooms. Along with 253,226 square feet of exhibit space, the center offers a 28,160-square-foot ballroom, 13,500-seat arena and a 55,000-square-foot events plaza that connects to the Fort Worth Water Gardens. Across the street from the convention center, the 614-room Omni Fort Worth serves as the pri- mary convention hotel and also provides the of- ficial catering services to the center. According to Director of Sales and Marketing Larry Auth, the property is expanding the group space available around the pool bar due to demand. "It's been a hot bed for groups," he said. The property offers five rooftops, all of which showcase green space providing a "nice ambiance for groups," Auth said. Also located across the street from the conven- tion center, the Sheraton Fort Worth Hotel and Spa recently underwent a $48 mil- lion renovation and upgrade. The property houses 22,000 square feet of meeting space. The Hilton Fort Worth opened in 1921 and is one of the oldest operating hotels in Texas. Desig- nated as a historical landmark, the property shares a unique re- lationship with the US Presi- dency and hosted President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie on what would be his last night in November 1963, according to Vice President and Director- Sales and Marketing Richard Ross of Remington Hotels. "It's one of the only hotels in down- town that is virtually equidistant to both the convention center and the city's Sundance Square," he added. The Botanical Research Institute (BRIT) opened in May 2011 in the heart of the cultural district. The organiza- tion documents the diversity JUNE 2012 ConventionSouth 47 "We are...a showcase of Western culture. You can go to a world-class museum like Kimbell or visit the Stockyards or experience a year- round rodeo." —David DuBois, Fort Worth CVB and an atrium. Also available for meeting groups are the Em- bassy Suites Fort Worth-Downtown and the Ren- aissance Worthington Hotel. The Renaissance can accommodate larger groups of up to 1,200 and the Embassy Suites is appropriate for small groups of 200 or less. ■ city tranquility Escape to the Fort Worth Botanic Garden for a tran- quil break during your next meeting in Texas or take advantage of this beautiful setting for a special event. The grounds offer 110 acres of manicured gardens as well as a 17,000-square-foot facility with a theater-styled auditorium and several meeting rooms to accommodate various sized groups. ■ of plant life and conducts extensive research around the world that has resulted in the dis- covery of scores of species previously un- known. According to Regan Haggerty, head of events, the property offers five event spaces, including an outdoor terrace Contact FOR T WOR T H

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