More Details Unveiled on 22-Story Downtown Hilton ExpansionMarch 12, 2018 2:41 pm Walker Evans
A group of local leaders gathered at the Greater Columbus Convention Center this morning to officially announce the new 22-story Hilton hotel expansion, which was unofficially announced early, two weeks ago. The new building, which is slated for construction on the east side of High Street, directly across from the current 12-story Hilton hotel, would add 470 rooms, bringing the Hilton’s combined total to 1,002.
Several of the speakers during today’s unveiling reiterated that having a 1000-room hotel attached to the Convention Center is a crucial missing ingredient when trying to attract larger meetings to Columbus.
“I was City Council President when the Downtown Hilton opened in October 2012 and there were those who feared it would cannibalize other hotels Downtown, or that we wouldn’t fill it on a consistent basis,” stated Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther during today’s event. “Every concern expressed at that time proved to be unfounded. The investment made in the Hilton began to pay off almost immediately. In fact, since 2012, the Hilton has brought in more than $41 million from groups we would not have otherwise been able to host.”
In 2019 Columbus will host the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Annual Meeting and Exposition, which will which will bring 5,000 event planning professionals to the city. The exposure from this event combined with the construction of the new hotel expansion is expected to bring a tourism boom to Columbus to the estimated tune of $500 million over the next five years. The hotel expansion would also double the Hilton’s Downtown staff from 250 team members to 500.
“We announced a few weeks ago a new hospitality and tourism career pathway that we will be working on with Experience Columbus and great partners like Columbus State and Cameron Mitchell Restaurants,” explained Ginther. “We want to make sure that every family in every neighborhood is able to participate in this shared prosperity.”
Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority Board Treasurer Rhett Ricart stated that the project is still on track to break ground this fall with a grand opening slated for 2021.
“In the coming days, City Council and the Franklin County Board of Commissioners will consider legislation to provide 50/50 financial backing bonds needed to build this hotel,” said Ricart. “This is the first step in making the expansion a reality. The next steps will be to select a design team, construction manager, and underwriting team.”
Update 3/12 7:55PM: This article previously mentioned that Columbus would be hosting an event for the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), which is actively being pursued, but not yet confirmed.