Local News

Downtown Raleigh Becomes Hot Destination for Conventions

Posted November 30, 2006 11:48 p.m. EST
Updated December 15, 2006 8:34 p.m. EST

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.