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Concord, North Carolina Expects Far-reaching Effects from the Opening of  $65 million
 Embassy Suites Hotel Charlotte-Concord Golf Resort and Spa; Will Help Establish
 the Area as a Year-round Tourism Destination
By Adam Bell, The Charlotte Observer, N.C.McClatchy-Tribune Business News

Jan. 7, 2007 - CONCORD -- A project that has kicked around Concord for the better part of two decades will debut Monday with the opening of a $65 million hotel and convention center.

It was worth the wait, local leaders said.

They expect to see far-reaching effects from the Embassy Suites Hotel Charlotte-Concord Golf Resort and Spa and Concord Convention Center, built by Missouri developer John Q. Hammons.

The 11-story, 308-room hotel -- the first full-service hotel in Cabarrus County -- adjoins the convention center, which includes a ballroom around the size of a football field. The entire complex covers about 350,000 square feet and will mark its grand opening Jan. 19.

General Manager Terry Crawford called it exciting to launch a resort. Crawford said the resort tag was added because the hotel has a spa and Hammons now manages the neighboring, city-owned Rocky River Golf Club.

Crawford spent the past week overseeing last-minute details, including planning for the arrival of an 18-foot-tall sculpture and pedestal for the lobby's fountain.

He expects the complex to help keep local groups' meetings in Cabarrus instead of going out of county.

The NorthEast Medical Center Foundation has thrown its annual fundraising ball in Charlotte for the past 12 years. But with 800 guests last year, the Concord hospital's fundraising arm needs more room. It has found it in the new convention center.

"The timing was great to be able to move the event ... into our community," said Meredith Valentine, the foundation's special events coordinator.

That's the type of influence that Concord Mayor Scott Padgett expects will continue.

"It's not just about tourism," Padgett said. "There's a need for meeting space, (and for) weddings, receptions and family reunions. Serving our local citizens is pretty important."

Area leaders cited other benefits:

  • The county's already healthy tourism base will benefit from offering something not previously available here. "It also puts us on the radar for other developers around the country," Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO John Cox said.
  • Local businesses should see spillover benefits from the complex. A hotel and additional development already are being targeted for property near the convention center.
  • The complex will generate substantial new income for the county's tourism agency through the hotel-room tax.

An estimated three-fourths of hotel-room tax revenue growth in the next fiscal year will come from the Embassy Suites, said DeSales Wagster, CEO of the county's Convention and Visitors Bureau. Total tax revenue is estimated to hit nearly $1.8 million, a 46 percent increase.

Wagster called the complex a logical progression in the county's tourism growth. She said it would help establish the region as a year-round tourism destination.

By The Numbers

$452,451 - Hotel tax revenue the Embassy Suites is estimated to generate next year, according to local tourism officials.33,600 Bars of soap on hand when the hotel opens.

11,130 - Bottles of shampoo at opening.

1,920 - Number of sheets to be ironed and folded every eight hours.

600 - Pounds of linen that can be washed per hour.

250 - Number of people the complex eventually will employ.

$159-$179 - Opening room rates per night.

2 - Number of 32-inch high-definition TVs in each of the hotel's 308 two-room suites.

Adam Bell

Adam Bell: 704-786-2185

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Copyright (c) 2007, The Charlotte Observer, N.C.

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