News for the Hospitality Executive
PHILADELPHIA…February 22, 2012… Mayor Michael A. Nutter reaffirmed his commitment to attract a new, anchor hotel to Philadelphia to serve the newly expanded Pennsylvania Convention Center. In 2011, over 2.77 million room nights were sold, which is the most ever in Philadelphia’s history. Philadelphia’s hospitality industry is poised for strong growth, and the city is more than halfway to its goal of adding 2,000 new hotel rooms to the downtown market. In all, the City has invested more than $71 million in hotel development over the past four years.
“Less than one year ago, we welcomed the opening of the newly expanded Pennsylvania Convention Center, and we’ve already started to see its impact,” said Mayor Nutter. “This Center can hold two major conventions at the same time, but we need increased hotel infrastructure that can support the increased demand. Philadelphia needs new hotel rooms to support the expanded Convention Center, which is the City’s gateway to North Broad Street.”
The Convention Center expansion, completed in March 2011, resulted in bringing the building's total to more than one million square feet of saleable space. This allows the center to host mega tradeshows, or two conventions, simultaneously. According to the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PCVB), which is the official Tourism Promotion Agency for the City of Philadelphia globally, and the primary sales and marketing agency for the expanded convention center, it has booked 225 meetings and conventions for 2012, with over 565,000 total hotel room nights, and an economic impact of more than $813 million.
Since the start of the Convention Center expansion project, there have been 525 new hotel rooms added to Philadelphia’s downtown hotel market. An additional 650 rooms are under construction in Center City and University City, which will be completed by 2013, for a total of 1,175 new rooms. This brings Philadelphia more than halfway to the goal of 2,000 new rooms in the downtown market, and an additional 1,000 new hotel rooms are anticipated to be completed going forward.
“Philadelphia is a great business address and primed for hotel development,” said Jack Ferguson, president & CEO, Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PCVB). “We’re seeing the bookings at the Convention Center that are going to drive demand for new hotels.”
In addition to the increase in convention and group business driven by the expanded Convention Center, Philadelphia is developing new tourism attractions and events that will continue to draw leisure travelers from around the globe. The opening of the Barnes Foundation on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in May means that Philadelphia will be the biggest international art story in 2012.
"The move of the Barnes Foundation helps shine a light on Philadelphia's vibrant cultural scene, and on everything that our visitors love to do," said Meryl Levitz, president & CEO of Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC). "Philadelphia is already an overnight sensation, with leisure hotel stays above pre-recession levels and Saturday night the busiest night of the week for our hotels."
Philadelphia is already seeing a strong rebound in its hotel development market, driven by boutique hotels serving leisure, business, and health care-related travelers. The last three years have seen the opening of the 230-room Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar, the 202-room Le Meridien, and the 92-room Four Points by Sheraton; the groundbreakings of the 136-room Homewood Suites University City and the 270-room Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco; and announcement of the 246-room Hilton Home 2 Suites directly across the street from the convention center.
Along with increased demand, a second factor driving this growth is the expertise and energy the City has brought to bear to close the financing gap many hotel projects face in a difficult lending climate. The $71 million the City has invested in hotel development is composed of low-interest loans and New Markets Tax Credit equity in partnership with its economic development arm, the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC). In addition, the City and PIDC have developed expertise in assisting developers in securing tax credits and various grants to further support hotel development. In recent years, with City support, hotel developments in Philadelphia have secured more than $32 million in state grants and New Markets Tax Credit equity from external sources.
For a copy of Philadelphia: Smart City. Smart Choice for Hotel Investment, or to start the conversation on developing a hotel in Philadelphia, visit PIDC’s website at http://www.pidc-pa.org/reports-and-studies or contact PIDC at 215/496-8151 or the PCVB at 215/636-3304.
Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PCVB), a private non-profit membership corporation, focuses on the convention, tradeshow, meetings, group tour and international tourism markets. The PCVB is the official Tourism Promotion Agency for the City of Philadelphia globally and theprimary sales and marketing agency for the newly expanded Pennsylvania Convention Center. www.PhiladelphiaUSA.travel.
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