Cleveland’s Citywide Makeover Attracts Big Name Groups


Cleveland Convention Center underground

Cleveland has been under redevelopment for nearly 20 years turning the historic downtown area into a walkable hub for large convention groups. Today, more than $3.5 billion is being invested, including major upgrades like a $17 million pedestrian bridge that will connect groups from downtown to Lake Erie, home to a variety of new bars, restaurants, shopping and Horseshoe Casino.

The big game changer in Cleveland is the new 600-room downtown hotel that is in the works. The $260 million project will be the city’s largest hotel, putting the destination in the running to host the 2016 republican/democratic national conventions.

This year, big things are already popping up, including the new Cleveland Convention Center. The $465 million, LEED Silver project opened on June 3 with 750,000 sf of meeting space located 30 feet underground. Above the facility, the 15-acre Cleveland Mall park will be used for the opening concert of the 2013 Summer National Senior Games in October. Connected to the  convention center, the new 235,000-sf Global Center for Health Innovation opens on October 8. The center will host 1,100 attendees for the upcoming Cleveland Clinic Medical Innovation Summit on October 14-16.


The 150-room Aloft Downtown Cleveland is part of a redevelopment along the Cuyahoga River. The historic building originated as Cleveland Flats, a popular restaurant and nightclub of the 1980s. The $20 million project opened in June, located along the popular East Bank, home to brand new office buildings and bar scene. The loft-style guestrooms  are bright, bold and vibrant with wonderful views of reemerging Flats neighborhood. The hotel has a spacious lobby and trendy WXYZ bar, providing groups a comfortable and social environment to mingle post meeting. Total meeting space is 3,000 sf.


Formerly the Crowne Plaze Hotel, the new 484-room, $64 million  Westin Cleveland Downtown opens in spring 2014 with over 1,000 works of art by local artists and craftsman. Highlights include sculptures hanging above the entrance retelling the story of the city’s industrial history. The hotel is located in Cleveland’s financial district, just steps from the brand new Cleveland Convention Center and Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Renovation plans consist of all public areas and guestrooms. Total meeting space is 20,000 sf.


Since 2002 the Cleveland Museum of Art has invested $350 million in renovations and expansion. Completion is scheduled this year with the addition of a 12,000-sf interactive learning center with 40-foot touch screens that display up to 3,000 images. The new technology allows groups to create a customized museum tour with iPads.

Large groups use the new 39,000-sf glass atrium, Cleveland’s largest free public space. Other new spaces include the 60-seat Provenance fine dining restaurant run by Chef Douglas Katz, who customizes artful and creative menus for groups up to 200.