NOV 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 ⎜ N O V E M B E R 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 40 A L A B A M A Simmons, vice president of destination sales for the Montgomery Area Chamber of Com- merce (MACC). "Whether you're looking for four-star luxury or a more affordable option with free breakfast, downtown's lodging is as varied as the guests who stay here. And the inventory is expanding," Simmons said. "Adding to the existing 173,000 square feet of meeting space and more than 800 hotel rooms, two additional hotels will be coming to down- town Montgomery. A brand new, five-story Staybridge Suites is under construction and an exciting transformation of one of downtown Montgomery's historic buildings is underway to become a new SpringHill Suites." Big changes are also underway on Dexter Avenue, one of America's most historic short streets, featuring the Alabama State Capitol, the terminal point of the Selma to Montgom- ery Voting Rights March and the only church Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. ever pastored. According to Meg Lewis, director of brand development and special projects for MACC, "This historic street is seeing a resurgence in retail and residential development. The first block, nearest the beautiful Court Square Foun- tain (where Rosa Parks boarded the infamous Montgomery City Bus) is now home to several loft apartment developments, five restaurants, a confectioner and a coffee shop. The newly restored Kress building will serve as a mixed- use space, integrating shopping, working and living, with modern functionality and historical charm. Like the original Kress department store, the new Kress will provide a 'variety store' shopping experience updated for today's urban dwellers. An event venue, a high-end restaurant, a bar and coffee shop are slated to open in this new space in coming months." The Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa and adjacent Convention Center provide 342 guest rooms and more than 73,000 square feet of event space, including 18 breakout rooms, a 14,000-square-foot ballroom and the 1,800-seat Montgomery Performing Arts Centre. Also downtown, Riverfront Stadium, home of the AA baseball Montgomery Biscuits, can accom- modate up to 300 for a seated dinner or up to 2,000 for a concert or event. The Marriott Montgomery Hotel & Confer- ence Center at Capitol Hill, located in nearby Prattville, completed a total renovation in early 2017, including all 74 guest rooms, two golf villas and the 10,000-square-foot Pres- idential Cottage. With almost 34,000 square feet of event and meeting space, the resort can accommodate up to 1,100 for presentations in theater-style seating and seat up to 620 for banquets. At the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, the Festival Stage in the Carolyn Blount Theatre can seat up to 750, and other meeting and With a beautiful riverfront setting, quick access by way of skywalk to the Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel and a convenient loca- tion to all of downtown, Mobile's Arthur R. Outlaw Convention Center offers planners many options for successful meetings and events. The center has two exhibit halls of more than 50,000 square feet each, 16 meeting rooms, two ballrooms, 39,000 square feet of pre-function space and more than 45,000 square feet of outdoor terraces and riverwalks providing scenic views of downtown Mobile as well as ship traffic on the Mobile River. According to Maggie Thrasher, director of sales and marketing, the center's strength is in providing a friendly Southern hospitality to guests. "That service is as important as our environmentally friendly practices," she said. "With a strong successful green initiative, we have recycled 16.32 tons of paper or 18 per- cent of our total weight in waste generated." In addition to the 363-room Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza, other hotels within a several-block walk of the center include the 238-room Battle House Renaissance Mobile Hotel & Spa, the 149-room Hampton Inn and a new 90-room Hilton Garden Inn. n B R E A K O U T S P O T L I G H T : Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center Contact: Auburn University Alabama

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