|By Tim Bryant, St. Louis Post-DispatchMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News |
March 20--Less than two weeks before baseball returns for another season at Busch Stadium, one of downtown's biggest hotels is temporarily closing hundreds of rooms.
The temporary room closures are at the Millennium Hotel, at 200 South Fourth Street.
About 600 of the hotel's 780 rooms will be affected, said John Bettag, vice president of sales for the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission. He said the hotel's HVAC equipment would be redone as part of the renovation.
Bettag said Tuesday that the CVC will work with the Millennium and other downtown hotels to relocate meetings, if necessary, and find new rooms for hotel guests affected by the project.
The renovation had been set to get under way this fall but was recently rescheduled to begin this spring, he said. Taking much of the Millennium offline during the busy summer meeting, tourist and baseball season is an inconvenience that can be handled.
"At the end of the day, it's a little bit of a scramble here," Bettag said. "Bottom line, we'll get through it. We have a lot of good (hotel) properties downtown and in the region."
Dominic Smart, the hotel's general manager, said he was not in an immediate position to discuss the project.
Gary Andreas, a hotel consultant based in Chesterfield, said the temporarily shrunken Millennium might lack rooms for everyone attending a large meeting at the hotel. But he said downtown's 8,000-room hotel market is big enough to handle simultaneously a full range of meetings and all but the biggest weekend baseball crowds. The Cardinals home opener is April 8.
Long-time St. Louis residents might remember the Millennium as Stouffer's Riverfront, the 28-story round hotel with the revolving restaurant on the top floor. Later additions to the original tower, built in the late 1960s, produced one of downtown's largest hotels. Stouffer's later carried the Clarion and Regal Riverfront names before the hotel began flying the Millennium flag more than a decade ago. For a time, the hotel's 10-story south tower operated as a Sheraton Four Points.
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