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  • April 02, 2020 4:04 PM | Morgan Christopher (Administrator)

    The need for hospital beds has put a strain on our medical infrastructure as we all work to tend to the afflicted.  See how centers across the country are transforming their spaces during the pandemic of Covid-19.....


  • March 20, 2020 3:14 PM | Morgan Christopher (Administrator)

    The main theme of our March Town Hall Call centered on "Political Meetings" monitored by CSPI First Vice President Sharon Altland Myers, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center.  To stay on top of the evolving news changing daily about the current COVID-19 pandemic, part of the call was a forum for colleagues in the Meeting Sales Industry to share their current experiences, challenges and concerns that affect our industry.  

    Following is a list of National Resources for you to access for up-to-the-minute information as the situation escalates in North America.  Likewise, included are two local resources discussed in the call as well as a reminder to follow CSPI on social media where we will be sharing industry news with our members and followers. 

    National Industry Resources

    Local Resources

    ·   Contact Your Local DMO/CVB and Keep Their Sales and Marketing Team Aware of the News from Your Venue
    ·    Stay in Touch with Your Partner Hotels/Suppliers and Update Each Other Throughout the Crisis

    Remember …

    ·        Send your immediate questions out to your Sales Professional Colleagues by using our “ASK  CSPI” feature on our website, www.CSPIonline.org
    ·        “Like” or “Follow” CSPI’s Social Media Pages on LinkedIn and Facebook - we are sharing news, articles and information during the crisis from our industry partners

  • March 01, 2020 3:31 PM | Morgan Christopher (Administrator)

    Members - We are sharing the "Need to Know" page on the Corona Virus from our friends at PCMA who have put together a comprehensive overview of the developing situation and information relevant to our members during this global issue. If you have specific questions about what industry partners are doing to address the crisis at their properties, remember to head to our website and use the "Ask CSPI" feature - www.CSPIonline.org


  • October 22, 2019 8:42 AM | Russell Kice (Administrator)

    by Rebecca Ellis Follow OPB Oct. 21, 2019 3:43 p.m.

    The Oregon Convention Center has emerged from a 14-month renovation looking, contractors hope, a little more like Oregon.

    The carpets, black and grey with green splotches, are meant to resemble lichen. Staff say the new ballroom ceiling takes its inspiration from the forest. And the wooden slats on the ceiling create a topographical map of the Cascade mountain range.

    The newly renovated ceiling at the Oregon Convention Center doubles as a topographical map of the Cascade mountain range.

    The newly renovated ceiling at the Oregon Convention Center doubles as a topographical map of the Cascade mountain range.

    Oregon Convention Center

    The design changes, unveiled to community members Monday afternoon,  are part of a $40 million renovation that Convention Center leaders hope will boost Portland’s image as a top-notch meeting destination.

    “We spent a lot of time in convention centers,” said Craig Stroud, the center’s executive director. “Usually, when you’re in them, you feel like you could be in any convention center across the United States. We wanted to change that. We wanted people in the Oregon Convention Center to know they’re in Oregon.” 

    The renovation included the creation of a new “connector,” which links the center’s original building with the newer addition. An expanded plaza has the potential to be turned into an amphitheater that could fit about 1,000 people. State of the art lighting and sound equipment has been tucked into the walls. 

    Stroud said the center was badly in need of a facelift as the 90’s-era interior space was no longer “modern and crisp.” Plus, the nearly-completed Hyatt Regency Portland, the city’s first convention center hotel, will soon open one block to the north, giving the center a new batch of visitors to impress. 

    “Portland as a destination has really grown nationally in the last decade or so,” Stroud said. “So we’re a known destination, people are curious about coming here, and we really need the infrastructure to support and make that happen.”

  • September 13, 2019 9:39 AM | Russell Kice (Administrator)

    Pam Fitzgerald   1/3/1968 - 9/7/2019

    On Saturday September 7th, CSPI lost our big-hearted, caring and giving Administrator to the dreadful disease of Cancer

    CSPI is giving Back for PAM to a non-profit close to Pam’s heart and keeping in the CSPI spirit of giving back.

    Carpenter’s Shelter - Carpenter’s Shelter supports the homeless in achieving sustainable independence through shelter, guidance, education and advocacy. Pam volunteered with the “Breakfast Brigade” preparing and serving fresh meals to the Carpenter’s Shelter community.

    CSPI is a 501(3)C Non Profit organization, your donation is tax deductible     

    Donations may be made via CSPI by clicking Donate Here

  • September 06, 2019 1:06 PM | Russell Kice (Administrator)

    THANKS FOR ATTENDING! Connect 2019 was a smashing success and it's all because of you! This year, Connect attendees raised more than $80,000 for breast cancer research (which was matched by an additional $80,000 donation by Connect), adopted all the puppies from the Fort Worth Puppy Lounge, participated in 37,500 face-to-face appointments and attended more than 40 education sessions. We hope you enjoyed the show as much as we did and we're excited to see you again next year! Take the Survey @ https://bit.ly/2m4Iz6fhashtag#ConnectMP

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  • September 05, 2019 11:32 AM | Russell Kice (Administrator)

    Detroit’s Cobo Center Becomes the TCF Center

    Sep 3, 2019 from ExhibitCity News

    Detroit’s Cobo Center Becomes the TCF Center

    Detroit’s world-class convention center, formerly known as the Cobo Center, was officially renamed the TCF Center on Aug. 27. Announced by TCF National Bank, a subsidiary of TCF Financial Corporation, and the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority, this naming rights partnership is a 22-year deal. Chemical Bank, now a division of TCF Bank following its successful merger of equals on Aug. 1, was selected and awarded naming rights earlier this year by the DRCFA following a comprehensive, competitive process

    “We couldn’t be prouder or more honored to partner with the authority on this unique opportunity to support our hometown and state. It helps ensure a continued strong, vibrant future for the world-class Detroit convention center that connects our city to the world,” TCF Executive Chairman Gary Torgow says. “It’s an important part of our larger, intentional effort to marry inclusion with investment across the city and its neighborhoods, region and state. We look forward to reaching new heights.”

    “This naming rights agreement has been a goal of the DRCFA since it was formed in 2009 and TCF Bank is the perfect partner,” says Larry Alexander, chairman of the DRCFA and president and CEO of the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Our partnership with TCF Bank will help to cement the convention center’s strong financial future. We continue to dedicate ourselves to providing world-class service to our customers, maximizing positive economic impact, creating region-wide jobs and expanding business opportunities for the benefit of business stakeholders and the local community.”

    Against the backdrop of 10 million visitors who come to greater downtown Detroit and the 1.5 million visitors to the Convention Center annually, TCF Center will continue to grow its book of meetings, conventions and event business as it has continued to set record-breaking numbers since its $279 million renovation. In fact, TCF Center had an unprecedented year in 2018 with 244 events and a 564 percent increase in revenue since 2009.

    On Aug. 1, 2019, Chemical Financial Corporation and TCF Financial Corporation closed its merger of equals becoming TCF Financial Corporation headquartered in Detroit. Both Chemical Bank and TCF Bank brands will continue in the market until mid-2020 when Chemical Bank branches will be rebranded TCF Bank. The combination creates a premier Midwest bank with $47 billion in total assets, more than 500 branches in nine states, and a specialty lending and leasing business in all 50 states. The bank will soon build a landmark tower to serve as its headquarters in downtown Detroit and helped spearhead the $35 million Strategic Neighborhood Fund to help reinvest in and bolster Detroit neighborhoods.

    “I can’t think of better partners than Gary Torgow and the team at TCF Bank to help secure the future of our region’s convention center,” says Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “Today’s announcement, combined with TCF’s commitment to build its new headquarters in downtown Detroit and Gary’s leadership building our Strategic Neighborhood Fund, shows TCF Bank is truly invested in our city and its people.”

    With 723,000 square feet of exhibit space, TCF Center, formerly Cobo Center, boasts one of the largest contiguous exhibit floor spaces in North America and is the 17th largest convention center in the country. For more info, visit www.tcfcenterdetroit.com

    TCF Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: TCF) is a Detroit-based financial holding company with more than $47 billion in total assets and a top 10 deposit market share in the Midwest. TCF’s primary banking subsidiary, TCF National Bank, is a premier Midwest bank offering consumer and commercial banking, trust and wealth management, and specialty leasing and lending products and services to consumers, small businesses and commercial clients. TCF has more than 500 branches primarily located in Michigan, Illinois and Minnesota with additional locations in Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. For more info, visit tcfbank.com.

    On Sept. 15, 2009, operational control of TCF Center transferred to the DRCFA, under a collaborative agreement by the Michigan State Legislature, the City of Detroit, and Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. Each of these entities has an appointed member on the DRCFA Board. Larry Alexander is the appointee of the Governor of the State of Michigan and serves as Chairman of the Board. For more info, visit drcfa.org 

  • April 18, 2019 9:06 AM | Russell Kice (Administrator)

    As large events defect to other cities, plans to expand Baltimore Convention Center, add hotel move forward

    Baltimore Convention Center

    Kim Hairston / The Baltimore Sun

    City officials' hope for overhauling the Baltimore Convention Center moved forward with passage of a state bill to pay for planning and design on the project.

    City officials' hope for overhauling the Baltimore Convention Center moved forward with passage of a state bill to pay for planning and design on the project. (Kim Hairston / The Baltimore Sun)

    Meredith CohnMeredith CohnContact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun

    Amid the noisy debate over the future of Pimlico Race Course and other last-minute business, the General Assembly passed another measure atop Baltimore’s wish list — a bill that would provide money for planning the expansion of the city’s convention center and construction of a new convention hotel.

    City boosters and tourism officials say the Baltimore Convention Center needs an overhaul to remain competitive and attract bigger groups. Built in 1979 and last renovated and expanded in 1997, the convention center is losing repeat customers such as the Natural Products Expo East and Otakon, which are taking their tens of thousands of attendees and millions in economic impact elsewhere.

    The measure legislators passed before the session ended last week would approve state funding to plan and design the center’s renovation and expansion as well as the new hotel. The legislation also would direct the Maryland Stadium Authority to work with the city on estimating how much the project would cost and exploring how to pay for it all.

    “We have a great opportunity to attract some larger conventions here with more, and more modern space,” said Sen. Antonio Hayes, a West Baltimore Democrat who sponsored the legislation in the Senate. “These large-scale conventions are a boon to the local economy. They also support a great number of jobs, many for local Baltimoreans.”

    Under the bill legislators are sending to Republican Gov. Larry Hogan for his consideration, the state would pay for two-thirds of the estimated $50 million planning costs, with the city expected to pay the remainder. The governor can sign the bill, veto it or allow it to become law without his signature. Funding for construction would need to be approved separately.

    New arena 'not recommended,' but second hotel endorsed as part of Baltimore Convention Center expansion

    City and state economic development leaders have concluded that a plan to build a replacement for Royal Farms Arena on the site of the Baltimore Convention Center is too ambitious and complicated to be realistic.

    The effort to expand the West Pratt Street convention center began in earnest in July, when the city released a study finding expansion was needed to attract new business. The study, conducted by the stadium authority, explored options aimed at competing with the likes of Nashville, Tenn.; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh and Washington, all of which have expanded or built new convention centers within the past decade.

    Of several options laid out in the study, officials chose one calling for the expansion and renovation of the convention with the addition of a new hotel. The other options included building a new convention center, adding an arena or simply upgrading the existing facility.

    All the options called for demolishing and replacing the center’s East Building, which dates to 1979, and increasing the center’s square footage by 500,000 square feet to 1.7 million, with exhibit space increasing by a third to 400,000 square feet. Under the chosen plan, a 500-room hotel would go on the site of the nearby 337-room Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel.

    With the legislature passing legislation that would approve funding for planning and design, officials expressed optimism that they were a step closer to new space to market.

    “As the organization charged with booking and servicing events, including large, citywide meetings at the Baltimore Convention Center, Visit Baltimore’s success is intrinsically tied to the facility,” Al Hutchinson, president & CEO of the city’s tourism agency, Visit Baltimore, said in a statement. “As such, we look forward to working closely with the Maryland Stadium Authority and city of Baltimore on the planning and design work.”

    Baltimore's 10-year-old convention hotel finally makes a profit

    The city-owned Hilton Baltimore turned a profit last year for the first time in the decade since the convention hotel opened, recording close to $1.3 million in income, a new financial audit shows.

    The 757-room hotel opened in August 2008 next to the convention center downtown, two years after...

    The city has touted the project’s potential for attracting millions more in economic spinoff from filling restaurants and hotel rooms and other income.

    Some city officials have expressed frustration with the city-owned Hilton convention hotel that opened in 2008 and finally turned a profit in 2017 after officials refinanced the debt and cut costs. Bernard C. “Jack” Young, then City Council president and now ex officio mayor, had called for the Hilton to be sold.

    As for the new proposal, Lester Davis, a spokesman for Young, said the Democratic mayor was interested in hearing what the city and state officials come up with.

    “The folks at Visit Baltimore and other agencies are working really hard to move the ball and make incremental advancements, and he’s encouraged by this,” Davis said. “He’s cautiously optimistic at this point. It’s not a situation where he’s committing to any anything new. They are getting a sense of the lay of the land, and he’s looking to get up to speed and see what makes sense before moving forward.”

    The proposal had support from Democratic Mayor Catherine Pugh, but she is now on medical leave.

    Baltimore officials build case for convention center expansion as another big convention leaves

    When Baltimore loses its biggest annual convention in 2020, it will mark the fourth time in as many years that a large group left the city to find more spacious quarters elsewhere.

    Natural Products Expo East, which has met on and off in Baltimore for decades and draws about 30,000 attendees, dealt...

    Just as city officials have been fighting to keep the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico, they’ve been building the case for overhauling the convention center.

    Hutchinson had been citing losses for the convention center, which is 1.2 million square feet, smaller than newer counterparts. The Natural Products Expo said it will take its 30,000 attendees to Philadelphia in 2020; Otakon, a Japanese anime and lifestyle convention relocated to Washington in 2017; the National Athletic Trainers' Association drew about 12,000 people, but left after 2016; the American Society of Human Genetics, which drew about 8,000, moved on after 2015.

    The city did announce earlier this year that it had signed the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association men’s and women’s basketball tournament for three years beginning in 2021. The weeklong event is something of an alumni reunion and celebrity-studded festival sponsored by an athletic conference made up of smaller historically black colleges and universities, including Bowie State University.

    Some 150,000 people routinely attend the tournament, and officials in its current home city of Charlotte, N.C., say it has produced $50 million in economic spinoff.

    CIAA basketball tournaments coming to Baltimore in 2021, with potential $50 million economic impact

    The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association is bringing its big party to Baltimore starting in 2021.

    The city and the athletic conference made up of smaller historically black colleges and universities, including Bowie State University in Maryland, announced Tuesday that the CIAA will move...

    Baltimore officials said they are accommodating the event because it’s coming in the slow month of February, so hotel rooms are widely available in and around Baltimore. Games will be played at Royal Farms Arena, with other events being held at the convention center and other venues.

    Leaders had said they hoped the tournament week would also boost the city’s image after riots stemming from the death in 2015 of Freddie Gray, a young, black man, from injuries suffered in police custody. The city still grapples with a historically high murder rate, and now a black eye from a scandal involving Pugh’s insider book deal with the University of Maryland Medical System, on whose board she served.

    Visit Baltimore has booked 54 conventions in the city in 2019. There were 57 in 2018, 52 in 2017 and 48 in 2016. The convention center and hotels also book their own events.

    Now, the work could begin soon to hash out a deal with the city and begin planning.

    In a statement, the stadium authority said it “continues to work with its stakeholders and study partners on the Baltimore Convention Center Renovation/Expansion Study – Phase 2 that will outline preliminary design, cost estimating, and financing modeling. MSA looks forward to negotiating an agreement with the city of Baltimore as a basis of funding for potential next steps with allocating planning and design costs.”



    Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication |  

  • February 22, 2019 8:46 AM | Russell Kice (Administrator)

    Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY Published 3:55 p.m. ET Feb. 20, 2019 | Updated 3:57 p.m. ET Feb. 20, 2019

    Pittsburgh International Airport revealed renderings showing what its new $1.1 billion terminal is expected to look like.

    Pittsburgh has unveiled plans for a new $1.1 billion renovation that will give the city’s resurgent airport a new passenger terminal.

    The new two-story terminal, projected to open in 2023, features an undulating roof that designers say is meant to mimic the region’s rolling hills.

    The design for the new terminal was handled by architect Luis Vidal, who also designed the recently opened “T2” at London’s Heathrow Airport.

    Pittsburgh officials say the new terminal will speed flyers’ trips through the airport by consolidating check-in, ticketing, security and baggage claim “into one connected facility.” Currently, a people-mover tram is needed to funnel passengers between gate areas and check-in, baggage claim and security. The new terminal will replace the existing “landside” building, essentially filling in an empty area that currently exists between the gate areas and the airport’s entrance.

    Departing passengers will go through the new terminal’s upper level while arriving passengers will move through the lower level as they make their way from their gates to baggage claim and the airport’s exit.

    TODAY IN THE SKY: Pittsburgh to be first airport to allow non-fliers past security since 9/11

    The airport released images of the new plan, but said it will “continue to be refined over the next phase of the project …, which is expected to run through summer 2019.”

    It’s all part of a major makeover for the airport, which was revolutionary when it opened in 1992. Since then, however, Pittsburgh International has become suboptimal for the city’s modern-day needs.

    The current design was built almost exclusively to specifications called for by US Airways, which at the time used Pittsburgh as a major connecting hub that ranked among the nation’s busiest. The airport’s four passenger concourses were laid out like an “X,” giving connecting fliers a relatively short walk between gates – no matter which concourse they arrived to and departed from.

  • September 21, 2018 8:45 AM | Russell Kice (Administrator)

    Initiative to expand convention center has enough signatures to qualify for ballot — but not in 2018

    Convention Center

    K.C. Alfred / San Diego Union-Tribune

    An initiative that would raise San Diego's hotel tax to underwrite an expansion of San Diego's Convention Center has enough signatures to make it onto a future ballot.

    An initiative that would raise San Diego's hotel tax to underwrite an expansion of San Diego's Convention Center has enough signatures to make it onto a future ballot. (K.C. Alfred / San Diego Union-Tribune)

    Lori WeisbergLori WeisbergContact Reporter

    An initiative to bankroll a long planned expansion of San Diego’s convention center has new life after the county Registrar determined Thursday that the measure has enough signatures to qualify for the ballot — just not in 2018.

    The news comes more than a month after backers of the well-financed initiative effort learned that the measure failed a random count of the more than 114,000 signatures collected by the campaign. That triggered a full verification of all signatures by the county Registrar of Voters, but the time-consuming process would come too late to make it in time for this November’s ballot.



    Just how soon San Diegans will have a chance to vote on the measure remains unclear. Although the next regular election is not until 2020, Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who has made the convention center expansion a top priority, has previously said he would consider pushing for a special election next year if need be.

    The ballot measure, backed by a high-powered coalition of tourism and business leaders, organized labor and homeless advocates, calls for raising the city’s room tax to as much as 15.75 percent to not only fund an enlarged center but also underwrite housing and services for the homeless and pay for road repairs.

    While Faulconer would not say Thursday whether he will be seeking a special election, it’s likely he will given his longstanding desire to see the center expanded. The continued homelessness crisis is also likely to fuel a push for an earlier election.

    “This initiative is an incredible opportunity to shape the future of our city for the better by tackling our biggest challenges and it can’t happen soon enough,” Faulconer said in a statement he posted on Twitter. “With one vote, San Diegans will be able to house the homeless, fix our streets, and grow our economy — and the best part is it will all be paid for by visitors staying at our hotels. I look forward to working with our diverse coalition of supporters to finally get this across the finish line.”

    Backers of the measure are also likely to push for an election earlier than 2020.

    “The broad-based coalition supporting this measure strongly believes these are critical issues that need to be addressed as soon as possible,” said Chris Wahl, manager of the Yes! for a Better San Diego campaign. “Now that it is certain an election will happen, we plan to work with local stakeholders and the City Council to determine which ballot makes sense.”

    Under the initiative, the greatest share of revenues from the proposed tax increase — nearly $3.5 billion over 42 years — would go for the convention center project, including continued upkeep and marketing. More than $1.8 billion is to be set aside for addressing homelessness, and $551 million is targeted for road repairs.

    Still a looming question is whether the city will be able to regain control of the bayfront site where the convention center expansion would be built. Longtime Port of San Diego tenants Ray Carpenter and Art Engel currently have a leasehold on the 5-acre parcel where they have plans for a $300 million hotel development.

    Earlier this year, the city and port finalized a deal to pay Carpenter and Engel up to $33.2 million, including an up-front payment of $5 million, to secure control of their Fifth Avenue Landing leasehold, as it is known.

    Given the uncertainty surrounding the fate of the ballot measure as everyone awaited the Registrar’s full verification, the three parties last month agreed to extend the timeline for payments until Tuesday.

    Carpenter said Thursday he was not surprised by the news, but noted that his development team has not stopped processing its plans for the hotel project. He added that he does not know of any new talks scheduled with the city now that the measure has qualified.

    “The city now has a lot on their plate, so we will take it day by day and go from there,” he said.

    Matt Awbrey, chief of civic and external affairs for Faulconer’s office, said he expects the port, the city and Fifth Avenue Landing to reconvene “as soon as possible to revisit the payment schedule in the agreement based on the fact that this measure is moving forward.”

    What remains unknown, though, is whether Fifth Avenue Landing will be pressing the parties for additional money now that it will be asked to hold off on its project for a longer period of time. Under the terms of the original agreement, which assumed a vote this November, Fifth Avenue Landing was entitled to keep the $5 million up-front payment if the initiative failed at the ballot box. It could then resume pursuing its hotel development.

    The campaign to qualify the initiative was a costly one, with backers spending more than $1.4 million through the first half of this year. Major companies, including Sempra Energy, and large hotels were among the contributors.

    In the waning days of the petition drive, as it appeared that the number of valid signatures were falling short of expectations, supporters began sending out appeals to the business community for help in circulating petitions. But the effort apparently was not enough to overcome issues with the validity of some signatures that were collected.

    Although the campaign turned in a sizable number of signatures in August, a random check showed that they still fell short of the required 71,646 signatures of registered voters in the city of San Diego.

    Backers announced shortly thereafter that they planned to sue their signature-gathering firm for breach of contract, but no suit has yet been filed.

    “The committee plans to aggressively recoup the money it is owed,” Wahl said Thursday. “How this will be done is still being determined.”

    The firm, Arno Petition Consultants, could not be reached for comment Thursday. A phone number on its website connects callers to a “bookings group.”

    Meanwhile, tourism leaders are growing increasingly anxious about lost convention business the longer an expansion is delayed. They argue that many of the larger, more lucrative meetings will bypass San Diego in favor of cities that have centers with much more exhibit space.

    Tourism Authority CEO Joe Terzi said he received a letter just last week from the American Association for Cancer Research saying it was officially canceling its booking to come to San Diego in 2023. The group said the center is no longer large enough to accommodate its continued attendance growth since the annual meeting was last held in San Diego in 2014.

    “Without expansion of the Convention Center, we cannot hold our 2023 meeting in your facilities,” wrote Michael Stewart, the association’s chief financial officer. “Based on current space requirements and growth projections, the AACR will need a minimum of 600,000 square feet of exhibit space and approximately 300,000 square feet of space for the plenary hall to accommodate our annual meeting in 2023. Both of these requirements exceed the Convention Center’s capacity.”

    Although the growing supply of convention space across the country is outstripping demand, popular destinations like San Diego are facing increasing competition. Anaheim recently finished enlarging its center, San Francisco's Moscone Center is in the midst of construction on its project, and the operator of the Los Angeles center has proposed a $1.2 billion expansion that would include an 850-room hotel tower.

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