COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A huge downtown hotel expansion could mean $500 million for Columbus and local businesses over the next decade and could also attract larger conventions to the area.
The Hilton Tower expansion will be constructed on the southwestern end of the Columbus Convention Center and is expected to open in 2021.
When completed it will be Columbus’ first 1,000 room hotel.
The expansion will be built across High St. from the downtown Hilton, with 22 stories and 470 rooms.
“This takes us to the next level to compete with the largest conferences and conventions in America it is absolutely essential,” said Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther.
The Hilton addition will have easy access for events.
“Simplicity is the most important thing when they want to move people very seamlessly. From one event to the next, if you have to get on buses and travel 15-20 minutes to get to your hotel, that is not as ideal as when you can walk across a sky bridge right into the Hilton,” said Hilton Senior Vice President, David Marr. “Having a convention hotel like this a 1,000 room convention hotel, is going to really put Columbus on the map for a true premier and meeting destination.”
Marr said this large accessible hotel could make the difference when conventions look for locations.
“When these association groups are looking east coast, west coast, and the midwest they will look seriously at Columbus moving forward,” Marr said.
The creator of the Arnold Sports Festival says it attracted 22,000 athletes last time and his early reservations at the expanded Hilton drew applause.
“To make reservations for all 470 rooms for the Arnold Sports festival as soon as they are available,” said Jim Lorimer.
The expansion means jobs too.
“I am excited about bringing more conferences and conventions to Columbus, but I am also excited about 250 jobs being available for the people who live in Columbus and can take advantage of them,” said Ginther.
Following city and county approval of the proposed $165 million project including backing the revenue bonds, the next step will be to choose a design team, construction manager and underwriting team to determine final details and costs.