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convention connections


America’s Center Convention Complex & Nearby Hotels


Big upgrades in St. Louis make for bigger and better meetings


America’s Center The 1.2-million-square- foot America’s Center Convention Complex finished a two-phase, $50-million renovation in late 2012, and the city’s downtown is experiencing a reawakening, with more than $5 billion in new developments currently under way.


ASAE’s 2011 Annual Meeting & Exposition, MPI’s 2012 World Education Congress, and Major League Baseball’s 2009 All-Star Game — these are just a few of the major events that have picked St. Louis during the past few years — and for good reason. With more than $5 billion in new developments, from new hotels to expanded attractions, plus a just-completed renovation of the America’s Center Convention Complex, downtown St. Louis is experiencing quite a renaissance. And other groups are catching on — the FIRST International Robotics Championship will return in the spring of 2013 and 2014, and, for the first time, the American Bus Associa- tion will bring its Marketplace event to St. Louis in 2015. Nearly $50 million has been spent to


104 PCMA CONVENE FEBRUARY 2013


enhance both the look and the energy efi- ciency of the America’s Center Convention Complex during the past two years. The complex encompasses four venues under one roof: the Cervantes Convention Center, Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis Executive Con- ference Center, and Ferrara Theatre. During phase one, renovations included everything from new elevators to new catering kitchens, and in phase two, improvements to the exhibit halls, ballroom, and lighting were completed. The interiors have also been enhanced with new conversation areas and artwork to make attendees more comfortable outside of ses- sions and exhibitions. More than $30 million has been invested in the 66,000-seat Edward Jones Dome as well, from new scoreboards and videoboards to an improved audiovi-


sual and television experience in the Rams Club. The new Clarkson Jewelers Club was also added, offering prime field views, indoor lounge spaces, and other special amenities. Meeting planners and attendees will


also find plenty of new attractions, dining, and hotels surrounding the complex, if they haven’t visited recently. The Mercantile Exchange features a mix of locally owned restaurants, boutiques, and a movie theater, and the Peabody Opera House has reopened downtown and now offers year-round enter- tainment in its historic 3,200-seat theater. In hotel news, the 212-room Embassy


Suites St. Louis Downtown opened in late 2011 in the historic Laurel Building across from America’s Center, and The Cheshire, a Tudor- style boutique hotel on the edge of Forest


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