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New 22-Story Convention Center Hotel Proposed Downtown

Walker Evans Walker Evans New 22-Story Convention Center Hotel Proposed DowntownConceptual rendering via Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority.
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It’s no secret that the leadership at the Greater Columbus Convention Center have been wanting more hotel rooms for the past decade. An official recommendation for a 1,000-room hotel was proposed in 2015, just three years after the completion of the 532-room Hilton across High Street.

Last May, Experience Columbus identified multiple sites around the Convention Center where a new hotel expansion could be accommodated. Those conversations continued quietly throughout 2017, but new documents acquired by CU through a public records request show that a Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority meeting held with Franklin County and Columbus officials on October 24 presented a much clearer picture of what a hotel expansion could look like.

A new 300-foot 20+ story tower is currently being planned for a parcel of underutilized space adjacent to the Convention Center on High Street. If constructed as planned, the building would add 468 new rooms, bringing the total to 1,000 when combined with the adjoined Hilton. Additionally, the new building would provide 66,000 square feet of new meeting and ballroom space.

“From our perspective, the proposed expansion to the Downtown Hilton is significant because it will give us the 1,000-room convention hotel that we need to stay competitive in attracting large national conventions, trade shows and sporting events,” stated Megumi Robinson, Director of Public Relations at Experience Columbus. “We often hear from meeting planners and industry professionals that a 1000-room convention hotel increases a city’s appeal and can sometimes be a determining factor to choosing a destination.”

The proposed building also calls for a ground-floor bar and restaurant, a lower rooftop terrace above the ballroom space, and a rooftop restaurant and bar at the very top of the building.

The total project cost is being estimated at $165 million, which would be funded through bonds. The Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority is planning to break ground on the new project in the fourth quarter of 2018 with a grand opening planned for the third quarter of 2021.

The Greater Columbus Convention Center recently completed at $140 million facility renovation and expansion in 2017. A new 800-space parking garage was also completed on the north end of the Convention Center in 2016 with another 650-space garage slated to open in February 2020.

Other nearby hotel developments include a 10-story Moxy Hotel currently under construction in the Short North, the conversion of the 11-story Bollinger Tower into another Short North hotel, and an eight-story AC Hotel planned on Park Street.

Stay tuned to CU for more updates.

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