Recent hotel construction could help Cleveland land major conventions, like 2016 RNC or DNC

CLEVELAND - When Cleveland was a finalist for the 2008 Republican National Convention, the fatal flaw in their pitch was the lack of hotel rooms.

The difference by 2016, fueled by the new convention center, will be night and day.

Leading the list will be a 600-650 room Hilton hotel to go on the site of the Cuyahoga County Administration Building which will soon be demolished, the nearly 500 room Westin, plus boutique hotels like the Drury going in the old Cleveland Schools Administration Building, the Kimpton going in the Schofield Building at East 9th and Euclid, the LeMeridian at East 10th and Euclid and a Marriott Autograph hotel that will be included as part of the Ameritrust project.

"Just downtown that will put us to over 5,000 rooms, which now that's the right kind of package we need to be linked up with the new convention center," said Positively Cleveland President & CEO David Gilbert.

From downtown to University Circle, Gilbert said the hotel room inventory will be up in 2016 over 50 percent compared to a few years ago.

"Also important is the size and scale of the hotels with the new convention center, (Hilton) the Westin, you're going to have four hotels that will be between 400 and 650 rooms," said Gilbert. "That are what we need to draw large city wide conventions that can be put into the new convention center and at the IX Center."

The site selection process will soon begin for the biggest of conventions, the Republican or Democratic National Conventions in 2016.

While no decision has been made locally to try again, Gilbert said if they go it will be night and day from 2006.

"From looking at the past requirements, this now positions us well to be well within what they require within the city and within the county."

"Obviously a lot of factors go into that but certainly as it relates to the hotel package, we're far better positioned now than we ever would have been in the past for hosting a Republican or Democratic Convention," said Gilbert.

Representatives of the RNC & DNC tell NewsChannel5 the site selection process, which was already underway at this time four years ago, will begin to gear up by January when both committees meet.

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