FEB 2018

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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Page 19 of 59

By Adrianne Bowen ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 20 CONVENTION CENTERS Civic leaders and hospitality professionals in Memphis may not be reinventing the wheel, but they are reimagining every aspect of their city's convention center, with a complete transformation focusing on meeting planners' needs, according to Kevin Kern, vice president of communications for the Memphis CVB. "Every square inch of the convention center will be touched by this project, from interior restrooms to carpet and paneling," he said. "The building will take on a greatly enhanced 'sense of place' for the visitors and deliver hotel-quality finishes and modern amenities desired by meeting planners and delegates. LRK of Memphis and tvsdesign have part- nered to develop a design plan that utilizes and enhances the existing facility. Their collective vision will expand the footprint of the building with outdoor terraces and glass-enclosed con- courses and pre-function and meeting spaces that embrace the river and skyline views." Emphasizing the city's fame for art and music, these cultural elements will be an im- portant part of the new center, Kern noted. "A partnership will be formed with ArtsMemphis, the UrbanArt Commission and private contri- butions to bring a strong public art component to the building. Memphis is known the world over for blues, rock and soul music. These global genres of music will drive some of the themes in the art on display, along with music that can be heard in public spaces around building." Beyond "adding valuable square footage that includes more than 30 additional breakout meeting rooms, the renovation and expansion will also feature new pre-function space, out- door terraces and a rooftop party deck with a stunning view of the Mississippi River," Kern said. "In addition to the column-free Main Ex- hibit Hall, with 118,000 square feet, the Mem- phis Cook Convention Center includes the 2,100-seat Cannon Center for the Performing Arts. The final configuration of the project will also allow for a total of five permanent docks for load in and load out of shows. A new digital signage plan is being incorporated into the building, making navigation much more user-friendly to the consumer." Also creating a more attendee-friendly experience, a skybridge will connect the center to the 600- room Sheraton Memphis Downtown. The cen- ter will remain open and ready for business throughout the project, which is slated for completion in 2019. "This demonstrates our commitment and desire to be competitive in the meetings and conventions market," said Kevin Kane, presi- dent and CEO of the Memphis CVB. "As the destination marketing organization for Mem- phis and manager of the facility, this has long been a goal of the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau and Memphis Management Group. So much more than an expansion and renovation, this transformation of our facil- ity will aid us in sustaining and growing the tourism and hospitality industry's impressive annual economic impact." n Planned Revamp Will Emphasize Local Art & Music The Memphis Cook Convention Center, Memphis Tennessee Rendering of Main Hall Prefunction Area, part of Memphis Cook Convention Center renovation, slated for completion in 2019. Cannon Center for the Performing Arts at MCCC Memphis CVB

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