Black Meetings and Tourism

Sep/Oct 2011

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AREA GUIDES PHOENIX EXPANDED AND IMPROVED CONVENTION CENTER MAKES MEETING HERE BETTER THAN EVER BY SOLOMON J. HERBERT II The Phoenix area has always been a memorable place to hold a meeting. Hotels and resorts bask in near-perpet- ual sunshine, natural beauty manifests itself in every direction, and jaw-drop- ping sunsets paint the desert sky on a nightly basis. Now, thanks to a metamorphosis in Phoenix's urban core — including a newly expanded convention center, a new 1,000-room hotel, and a light-rail system that connects meeting attendees to a new world of dining and entertain- ment options — convening here packs more value than ever. The Phoenix Convention Center is fresh off a $600 million expansion that has transformed it into one of the largest meeting facilities of its kind in the U.S.All told, the convention center boasts nearly 900,000 sq. ft. of meeting and exhibit space. Thoughtful touches include air-conditioned loading bays, exhibit halls with pre-scored floors, and outdoor meeting areas that capitalize on Phoenix's greatest natural resource —the sun. The four-level North Building sec- tion of the convention center occupies a city block and boasts 635,000 sq. ft. of meeting and exhibition space. It fea- tures a street-level ballroom, 11 exhibit halls, 56 meeting rooms and 20 climate- controlled loading docks. TheWestBuilding houses 157,000 sq. ft. of conference-style meeting and exhibit space. Its environs include a lec- ture hall, a grand ballroom and an adjoining performance center — all 66 Downtown Phoenix accentuated by a striking collection of public art. The South Building of the Phoenix Convention Center recently underwent an $18.5 million makeover in which no corner of the facility went untouched. Its exhibition halls, ballroom and meet- ing rooms have been adorned with new colors, carpet and lighting; every rest- room has been remodeled; and WiFi coverage now extends to all public and rentable areas. There are over 33,000 sq. ft. of space dedicated to this building, including 23 versatile meeting rooms and 28,000 sq. ft. of ballroom space. The South Building also contributes to the total 143,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space in the entire Convention Center. One of the perks about meeting in Greater Phoenix is the incredible range of group venues at your disposal. Tap into the Southwestern culture with a cowboy cookout, American Indian hoop dance,Hispanic fiesta orMexican rodeo. For something elegant and close to the Phoenix Convention Center, there's the Symphony Hall and Herberger Theatre Center. Sports themes (and lots of room) are offered by Chase Field andUSAirways Center. Located at Superstition Springs, the privately owned Arizona Golf Resort and Conference Center is located 25 minutes east of Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. The Arizona Golf Resort accommodates leisure travelers and conferences as well as local business and social events. The Resort features 187 non-smoking rooms and suites, on- site championship golf, several whirlpool spas, pool, fitness center, three restaurants and lounge with entertainment. The facility is also equipped with 12,000 sq. ft. of meeting space with two ballrooms, dedicated training room, boardroomand a garden pavilion. While in Phoenixmake sure to enjoy some of the many attractions this beau- tiful city has to offer.By foot,by bike,or even by horse, there's no shortage of mountain trails, some right in the city and some in the middle of the Sonoran Desert. Climb iconic Camelback Mountain, see the cityscape from Piestawa Peak, or head to South Mountain for over 50 miles of trails. The museums and attractions here are not to be missed. The Desert Botanical Garden and the Heard Museum offer unique Southwestern experiences, while Phoenix Art Museum and SMOCA appeal to con- temporary art types. If you have kids, the Children'sMuseum of Phoenix, the Arizona Science Center and the Phoenix Zoo are must-dos. WHOYOUGONNACALL? Visit Phoenix – (877) CALLPHX or (602) 254-6500 Black Meetings & Tourism September/October 2011: Photo Credit: Visit Phoenix

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