News story - "Indy studying convention center expansion, new hotel space"
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Posted by aldctjoc

http://www.indystar.com/story/news/2016/08/18/indy-studying-convention-center-expansion-new-hotel-space/88969724/

Lead paragraphs:

"Visit Indy, the city's tourism arm, has commissioned a feasibility study on whether to expand the Indiana Convention Center for the second time since 2011, tourism officials confirmed this week.

It also will examine the need for additional Downtown hotel space after a nearly decadelong trend of rising occupancy, which has fueled the belief that there may be pent-up demand for hotel capacity in Indianapolis." 

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Posted by nikki

This is exciting news!

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Posted by irontk

I saw this. I can't see how they can't be against it. 
As a few people point out, what happens if there is a down turn? 
They already have a huge space, and more than enough hotels. 
 

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Posted by nikki

I don't remember which article it was, but there was a statement that Gen Con using the Lucas Oil Stadium successfully was going to allow them to draw more large conventions to Indy now.  So I bet these studies are going hand-in-hand with that idea.

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Posted by squirecam irontk

khadorstrong wrote:
I saw this. I can't see how they can't be against it. 
As a few people point out, what happens if there is a down turn? 
They already have a huge space, and more than enough hotels. 
No, they dont.
They need more downtown hotel space, not less. As the articles point out, Indy has LOST rooms compared to 5 years ago. That's just stupid.

Also, the article states the downtown block is SOLD OUT in 15 minutes !!!! That makes the lotto practically worthless....

GenCon, the country's largest tabletop gaming convention with more than 61,000 attendees this year, was considering leaving Indy when its contract ran out in 2010 because of a lack of space. At this point, GenCon hasn't completely filled the available exhibit space at the convention center and Lucas Oil Stadium, but it has maxed out the hotel inventory.Gahl said the convention's 56 reserved hotel blocks sold out within 15 minutes for this year's conference. After that, attendees spilled into the suburbs."It was a virtual sell-out of not only Marion County hotel rooms, but the metropolitan statistical area as a whole," Gahl said.

 

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Posted by aldctjoc irontk

khadorstrong wrote:
I saw this. I can't see how they can't be against it. 
As a few people point out, what happens if there is a down turn? 
They already have a huge space, and more than enough hotels. 
 

Well, they're screwed regardless if they have a downturn; it's only a matter of how screwed. But if they don't expand, they can very well lose out on conventions even during good times. Imagine how bad it would be for their image if Gen Con does leave due to the hotel space issue, and not something else.

It's a balance. The hotel industry people being quoted have a good point about cannibalizing itself, but at the same time they can screw up by standing pat and stifling growth. And they have to know that. 

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Posted by aldctjoc squirecam

squirecam wrote:... As the articles point out, Indy has LOST rooms compared to 5 years ago. That's just stupid.

Wait, hold on a bit. Don't blame the city for that. Here's some perspective on what happened to those rooms:

http://www.ibj.com/articles/60025-city-studies-need-for-more-hotels-after-losing-1000-rooms

"The hotel-room losses were due in several cases to redevelopment rather than a weak hotel market, local hospitality experts said. The 278-room University Place closed in 2012 when IUPUI converted the space to student housing and classrooms. The 164-room Motel 6 Speedway gave way to the town’s redevelopment plans in 2013. And the Sheraton Indianapolis Hotel at Keystone Crossing was downsized by 165 rooms, to 395 rooms, in 2011 to make way for apartments and commercial developments."

These were all cases of benefit coming in other areas. IUPUI - long having been a commuter campus - has been growing the portion of their student population that uses on-campus housing. Speedway - where the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is - has long needed a modernization in that area, and it's been a benefit for IMS patrons. I can't speak towards the Keystone Crossing changes since I know nothing about them, but my point is that many of these room losses weren't due to idiocy or boneheadedness on the city's part. In the cases I know about, they were necessary improvements to the area. 

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Posted by keithbradburn

Just a FYI.  Gen Con is not the only reason for the Indianapolis to be seriously looking at more hotel rooms.  The FFA will be moving back this year and looks to stay until 2024.  The articles state the FFA needing more space being the reason for the move back to Indy.

http://www.indystar.com/story/news/2015/05/07/ffa-convention-returning-to-indianapolis/70939224/

http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/story/29824502/ffa-eyes-long-term-indy-return
 

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Posted by aldctjoc

True. I've noted this myself on other thread and forums like Reddit. We of course focus on Gen Con because we're gamers :)  but there are multiple conventions that put up some big numbers attendance-wise, if not necessarily money-wise. Indy Black Expo, for example, puts up some big numbers. So does the Performance Racing Industry trade show. And multiple sporting events, from Big Ten football and basketball tournaments, the Indianapolis 500 and what used to be called the Brickyard 400, all of which happen yearly. 

Granted, not all of them actually stress the hotel system. But some outside of Gen Con come close; again, the stories note that Indianapolis is right on the magic 70% occupancy number for hotel expansion. And if Indianapolis wants another Super Bowl, and possibly an Olympics, expansion is necessary. (Background for that last: Back in 2013, the USOC asked multiple cities if they'd be interested in submitting a big for 2016. The former mayor - Greg Ballard - said no, Indy doesn't meet their requirements, and frankly there's no buzz to get one in Indy. I myself don't think it's a good city for one. But who knows what the future holds?)

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