Small Market Meetings

MAY 2017

The Newspaper for Smaller Cities, Facilities and Planners.

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O f f - s i t e O p t i o n s R e v i t a l i z e d M e e t i n g S p a c e May 2017 21 Two large upstairs ballrooms, each about 20,000 square feet, can serve as individual spaces and breakouts or, if needed, can combine for one large general session. "We're adding prefunction space, as well, with lots of natural light," Schroeder said. "You can see the downtown activity and vibrancy from inside the center." An outdoor terrace hosts receptions and breaks from indoor meetings. The BCC is part of the 170,000-square-foot Twin City Quarter (TCQ) complex, a hub for downtown meetings that includes a 315-room Marriott hotel with an award-winning farm-to- table restaurant and a 146-room Embassy Suites, all connected by a skywalk and all under one management company. "TCQ makes it easy for event planners with one point of contact for all three entities," said Richard Brooks, TCQ's area director of sales and marketing. "If things change at one of the two hotels or the complex, we can rectify it in a snap." The hotels add a combined 70,000 square feet of meeting space. The Marriott includes six suites, and its 5,390-square-foot ballroom wel- comes 600 for a reception. "The complex is within a five-minute walk of 30-plus restaurants, bars, museums, retail out- lets and the Downtown Arts District without having any additional transportation needs or costs," Brooks said. "And the Winston-Salem Dash minor league baseball team plays a walk- able mile away." The team name refers to the dash between Winston and Salem. An Art Deco prototype of the Empire State Building, the old Reynolds headquarters morphed into the Kimpton Cardinal Hotel in April 2016. With 174 guest rooms, including 15 suites, the luxury boutique hotel features 6,375 square feet of space for smaller meetings. Named after the wife of R.J. Reynolds, the Katharine Brasserie and Bar pampers with steamed oysters and sweet tea. "The property has a big-city feel that Winston- Salem was looking for in this time of enormous growth," said John Esainko, general manger. "There's no hotel quite like it in the area." Off-site Options Off-site venues in downtown Winston-Salem are plentiful and varied. Located next to the Embassy Suites, the Stevens Center is the primary performance I n Winston-Salem, everything old is or is becoming new again. Founded by Moravians from Eastern Europe in 1766, the North Carolina town of Salem was all about religion, music, literacy and traditional skills, like hearth cooking. Thanks to textiles and tobacco, the nearby town of Winston, circa 1851, was a thriving industrial center. In 1913, the two joined as Winston- Salem. Embracing its heritage, this gem of fine arts, theater, architecture, culinary arts and techno- logical research, known as the City of Arts and Innovation, is in the midst of an ongoing, city- wide "reinvention." Public and private invest- ments of $1.5 billion are funding new retail, entertainment and nightlife venues, conference facilities, infrastructure and hotel upgrades. "Winston-Salem is really good at taking something and repurposing or reinventing it to be more useful," said Christian Schroeder, director of sales and services for Visit Winston- Salem. "Sixty to 80 years ago, eastern downtown was totally Reynolds Tobacco. Now an old tobacco-drying facility houses Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, an urban research park that includes Biotech Place, a center for regen- erative medicine and a 10,000-square-foot off- site group meeting space. A lot of historic build- ings have become offices and condos because more people want to live downtown. Brand- new Bailey Park is a popular community gath- ering spot." Even the city's old cigarette vending machines have become art-o-mats that, via token or cash, dispense art-to-go. Revitalized Meeting Space A 100,000-square-foot example of the city's reinvention is the downtown Benton Convention Center (BCC). The building's $20 million rein- vention from its 1960s and 1980s architecture includes significant structural, design and tech- nological upgrades to its interior and exterior. Begun in March 2016, the project is set for completion this month. Remarkably, the center has remained open during the entire phased construction. Once cement floored, its downstairs, 46,000-square-foot exhibit hall is now carpeted, with air walls and a built-in stage, giving the area more options for varied-size meetings and exhibits, breakout rooms, banquets and the capacity for hosting multiple groups. Foothills Brewing "We're adding prefunction space, as well, with lots of natural light. You can see the downtown activity and vibrancy from inside the center." All photos courtesy Visit Winston-Salem LOCATION Central North Carolina ACCESS Interstates 77, 40, 85 and 74; Piedmont Triad International Airport MAJOR MEETING SPACES Twin City Quarter, Benton Convention Center, Embassy Suites Winston-Salem, Winston-Salem Marriott, Kimpton Cardinal Hotel, Brookstown Inn, Graylyn International Conference Center HOTEL ROOMS 4,800 guest rooms OFFSITE VENUES Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts, Old Salem Museums and Gardens, Stevens Center, Wake Forest Biotech Place Conference Center, Millennium Center, Foothills Brewing CONTACT INFO Visit Winston-Salem 336-728-4218 Winston-Salem, North Carolina

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