Local News

Downtown Raleigh Becomes Hot Destination for Conventions

Posted November 30, 2006
Updated December 15, 2006

They're not even built yet, but Raleigh's new convention center and downtown Marriott are getting national exposure. A major marketing campaign is now selling Raleigh as a convention destination.

The Marriott hotel chain kicked off a marketing campaign this week for their future luxury hotel slated for Fayetteville Street. A Marriott representative said the company's sales team would begin selling Raleigh as a convention destination. Construction on the Raleigh Marriott City Center is expected to begin in February.

Hotel management officials say 91 groups and 64,000 room nights have already been tentatively booked. The Marriott and the convention center are both expected to bring an extra $60 million a year to Raleigh.

The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau has also been marketing Raleigh as a convention destination. A group from the Bureau was in Washington, DC this week promoting Raleigh and the surrounding area.

"They're coming here for a convention, but they are choosing the destination. So we're in turn giving them the opportunity to see our emerging downtown to see the great art scene, the night life and all of that," said Martin Ames, a spokesperson for the bureau.

Harvey Yancy, the owner of Yancy's Restaurant on Fayetteville Street, said the convention center and Marriott City Center are two of the main reasons he opened a downtown restaurant.

"Downtown is being revitalized, Fayetteville Street it the perfect location," Yancy said. "It's going to be big, it's going to be real big."

In 2005, visitors spent $1.2 billion, generating a reported $100,000 in tax revenue. Officials said they believe those numbers will only increase once the convention center and hotel open in 2008.
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  • josh2 Dec 18, 2006

    Hopefully the city has though long and hard about parking issues. I enjoyed dinner with friends at Yancy's last week - and in doing so, received a parking ticket for dessert. Parking signs and designated areas are confusing and sketchy at best for on-street parking in the "new revitalized downtown" If the city wants people to embrace the idea - they are going to have to be a bit more forgiving on the parking issue - especially around the construction areas where there is a lack of proper signage.

    Folks also need to remember that we do not necessarily live in a "if you build it, they will come" society as seen on the silver screen. As a person who travels for many-a-convention, I can speak from experience that many "convention" cities have both a commercial/retail AND residential area surrounding their respective convention centers. The nightlife bustle of downtown has a little ways to go in this area. It is good to see a start - now the people of Raleigh must support it full