ConventionSouth

APR 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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⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ A P R I L 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 48 F L O R I D A reached a long-sought goal, generating more than $600 million in hotel revenue in a calen- dar year. "This is a tremendous achievement by the Visit Tampa Bay team and our 800-plus partners," said Santiago C. Corrada, President and CEO of Visit Tampa Bay. "Back in 2014, we set a goal for our destination of reaching $30 million in bed-tax collections over three years. Working together as an industry – and with virtually no increase in room inventory – we built Tampa Bay into a tourism powerhouse that supports nearly 50,000 local jobs." An increase in room inventory is now in the works. A new 26-story, 519-room JW Marri- ott, scheduled to open in 2020, is among the developments underway in Tampa's waterfront convention district. Just across the street, a $40 million enhancement is in progress at the 727- room Marriott Tampa Waterside Hotel & Ma- rina, where guest rooms are being refurbished and an entire floor of wellness rooms with air filters and Vitamin C showers are being added. A new pool deck is also in the works and Catch, a new restaurant, will coordinate with a charter fishing company to prepare the seafood it catches each day. Both Marriott properties are within a short walk of the 600,000-square foot Tampa Bay Convention Center and the two hotels combined will create the largest col- lection of meeting space in Tampa Bay, with 1,246 guest rooms and 150,000 square feet of meeting and event space. "Tampa is a destination with a lot of things happening, much of it focused on development along the waterfront," said Chris Adkins, di- rector of sales and marketing at the Marriott Tampa Waterside Hotel & Marina. He ex- plained that changes are being made to connect the convention district to the rest of Tampa, with 53 acres near the convention center in de- velopment, including two new hotels and more than one million square feet of retail, cultural, educational and entertainment space. Other new hotels in Tampa Bay include The Godfrey Hotel & Cabanas Tampa, with 276 rooms and a waterfront deck and pier, located in the Rocky Point area west of Tampa Inter- national Airport and the new 175-room AC by Marriott in the Westshore neighborhood. Com- ing next year is a 213-room joint Hampton Inn / Home2 Suites in the trendy Channel district near Port Tampa Bay's cruise terminals and The Florida Aquarium. Several major hotels are undergoing dra- matic enhancements. The Westshore district's former InterContinental hotel has been trans- formed into the new 325-room Westshore Grand. Tampa Bay's popular Westin Harbour Island waterfront hotel has undergone a $20 million changeover to become The Westin Tampa Waterside. Another downtown Tampa landmark, the Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk, has undergone a hotel-wide remake of its rooms, pool area and lobby. The Barrymore Hotel Tampa Riverwalk has renovated 10 of its 14 floors, with the remainder to be updated later this year. Meanwhile, the Residence Inn by Marriott Downtown hotel has been fully renovated and the adjoining Courtyard by Marriott Tampa Downtown will be updated this summer. Construction is underway on the new Cur- rent hotel, in Tampa's Rocky Point district, an Autograph Collection by Marriott property that will have 180 rooms and beach and waterfront access. New event spaces in the Tampa Bay area include The Gathering at Armature Works, a recently restored near-downtown historic building on the Hillsborough River. Home to Heights Public Market, one of two new food halls, the facility offers 10,000 square feet, with capacity for up to 700 guests, an addi- tional 4,800 square feet of pre-function indoor space and more than 4,000 square feet of out- door space. The Mosaic Center at The Florida Aquarium, a smaller venue with 4,500 square feet, is an elegant building featuring floor- to-ceiling wrap-around windows and atrium views of art. The Tampa Bay History Center has ex- panded by nearly one-third and established a new permanent exhibit focused on Florida's privateers, conquistadors and treasure seekers, with a replica of an 18th Century pirate ship. Also part of the expansion is the new Touchton Map Library and Center for Cartographic Edu- cation, the first of its kind in the southeast U.S. Tampa Bay Meeting Spaces • Tampa Convention Center: 600,000- square-foot facility; 200,000-square-foot exhibit hall; 36,000-square-foot ballroom; 84,000 square feet of pre-function space • Riverwalk at Tampa Convention Center: 146,000 square feet of event space • Saddlebrook Resort Tampa: 95,000 square feet of meeting space; 800 guest rooms • Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina: 50,000 square feet of meeting space; 720 guest rooms • Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay: 23,000 square feet of indoor meeting space; 10,000 square feet of outdoor meeting space; 442 guest rooms • Embassy Suites Tampa Downtown Convention Center: 9,000 square feet of meeting space; 360 guest suites • The Gathering at Armature Works: 10,000 square feet of meeting space; 4,800 square feet of additional indoor space; 4,000 square feet of outdoor space • Florida State Fairgrounds: 88,000-square- foot Expo Hall; 52,000-square-foot Enter- tainment Hall; 42,000-square-foot Special Events Center St. Petersburg/Clearwater Thirty-six miles of beach, a wealth of up- scale resorts, a growing reputation as a foodie hotspot and attractions like The Dalí Museum, Rosen Hotels, Orlando Florida Along with grand lobbies, expansive meeting spaces and beautiful pools, the Rosen Plaza, Rosen Centre and Rosen Shingle Creek all offer distinct dining experiences, featuring gourmet cuisine in elegant settings. At the Rosen Centre, the Ever- glades restaurant has extensive, colorful murals, sculptures and a large aquarium depicting all types of sea creatures and environments. n Site Visit Highlight: DELIGHTFUL DINING

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