CFA reveals plans to add 470 convention rooms to Hilton Columbus Downtown
COLUMBUS – Local and industry leaders joined together today at the Greater Columbus Convention Center (GCCC) to unveil plans and convey support for a 470-room expansion of the Hilton Columbus Downtown. The Hilton is a headquarter hotel of the GCCC and this will bring the total number of convention rooms on the property to 1,002. An 18,000-sq.-ft. ballroom and 42,000 sq. ft. of meeting space are also included in the plan.
This project is a result of efforts from the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority (current owners of the Hilton), Experience Columbus, the City of Columbus, Franklin County and other community leaders following feedback from meeting professionals, national brand sales representatives and industry experts. Today, these groups expressed their commitment to building the new convention hotel rooms during a community briefing.
“We are thrilled about this expansion and know that developing this level of hotel will bring a new tier of meetings, sporting events and conventions to the city of Columbus,” David Marr, Hilton senior vice president and global head of full service brands said during the event.
Also on hand to share their support were Scott Wiley, FASAE, CAE, immediate past chair of the ASAE Board of Directors and Jim Lorimer, CEO of Classic Productions. Wiley stressed the importance of the project as the city looks ahead to hosting the 2019 ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition next August and its potential for new business. Lorimer, who, along with Arnold Schwarzenegger, welcomes more athletes than the Olympics to Columbus each March for the Arnold Sports Festival, anticipates his event continuing to grow with this new offering.
“Columbus is committed to investing in meetings and we are deeply appreciative of the leadership shown by Mayor Ginther, our Franklin County Commissioners, Columbus City Council and the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority in making this project a priority for the entire community. Coupled with the recent $140 million renovation and expansion of the Greater Columbus Convention Center, we are excited about the enhanced convention package we can offer groups with this upgrade,” said Brian Ross, president and CEO of Experience Columbus.
The concept still requires approval by the city and the county, but the current design calls for a new 22-story tower to be built adjacent to the GCCC, across from the existing Hilton Columbus Downtown. Plans currently call for a groundbreaking this fall, with the new convention hotel expansion opening late 2021.
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As the destination marketing organization for Ohio’s capital city, Experience Columbus’ mission is to sell, market and promote the best of the city to visitors and enhance their experience. In 2016, Columbus was ranked “Highest in Visitor Satisfaction in the Midwest” by J.D. Power in the 2016 Destination Experience Satisfaction StudySM. For more information about all Columbus has to offer for meetings, conventions and trade shows, go to meet.experiencecolumbus.com.