CLARION – The final market feasibility study from Hotel & Leisure Advisors has recommended that a conference center be attached to a hotel to provide overnight accommodations and meeting space within the same building.
Also, the study has indicated that a conference center with an attached hotel has a greater chance of success than a stand-alone facility. The study has recommended one of two scenarios:
This first scenario is the addition of a corporate conference center to an existing lodging facility near Exit 62 of Interstate 80. It recommended a renovated space that would offer:
- Approximately 11,500 square feet of sellable meeting space that would include a 2,000 square foot pre-function gallery to highlight local artisans and provide pre-event gathering space.
- A 7,000 square foot main ballroom that is divisible into six rooms, each with their own access. As a banquet area, this space will seat 576 people.
- Four meeting rooms totaling 2,500 square feet with the latest in meeting technologies, including ample power, Wi-Fi, video conferencing and acoustical treatments.
- Estimated costs range from $3,500,000 to $4,000,000.
The second scenario is the construction of a new resort conference center on a location overlooking the Clarion River. H&LA has defined a resort center as a facility with greater emphasis on recreation and social activities for conferences.
These centers are typically located in a resort environment and have extensive resort-scale on-site recreational amenities, including golf, indoor pool with a waterslide, whirlpool, fitness center, walking paths, outdoor patios and grilling areas. The study has called for a new 120-room franchised full-service hotel and conference center. This recommendation included:
- 12,000 square feet of multi-use sellable space, with several food and beverage outlets, an outdoor adventure center, spa and other resort amenities.
- A 7,000 square foot main ballroom that is divisible into six rooms, each with its own access, in order to house multiple smaller events.
- A 2,500 square foot pre-function gallery space that will highlight local artisans, while providing registration and pre-event gathering space.
- An additional 3,000 square feet of meeting space that is divisible into four smaller rooms with the latest in meeting technologies, including ample power, Wi-Fi, video conferencing and acoustical treatments.
- A 3,000 square foot spa with five treatment rooms and relaxation lounge with services, such as manicures, pedicures, massage and other treatments.
- A seasonal outdoor adventure center retail outlet designed on a site with higher elevation to take advantage of the dramatic views along the Clarion River, to provide recreational activities to hotel guests with a walking path from the hotel to the outlet with rental and sales of canoes, kayaks, fishing and boating equipment, outdoor gear and clothing.
- Efforts by the hotel to obtain the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification as a “green” structure and promotion of this facility as an eco-friendly and an eco-tourism opportunity.
- Estimated costs range between $24,000,000 and $30,000,000.
The Hub Committee and Clarion County Economic Development Corp. are optimistic about the results of the study and will now begin reaching out to potential developers with the belief that the construction of a conference center in Clarion County has the potential to have a very positive economic impact, not only for Clarion County but the entire region. It is important to note that interviews with the Clarion business community suggested there is demand for an event space that can hold more than 500 people.
The Clarion County Economic Development Corp. is a 501(c)3 charitable non-profit organization. For more than 30 years, their mission has been to work with existing and prospective wealth generating companies to create and keep family sustaining jobs in Clarion County.
The Hub committee is a group of area professional and business leaders, volunteering their time and efforts, towards the purpose of bringing a conference center to Clarion County. A copy of the entire study is available for review at the Clarion County Economic Development Corp.’s office. Jamie Lefever, executive director, can be reached at 814-226-9045.