City makes deal with Omni Hotel as anchor for Raleigh Convention Center

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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
Raleigh inks deal with anchor hotel for Convention Center
Raleigh Convention Center that will soon undergo renovations, expansion now has an anchor hotel--Omni Hotels, Visit Raleigh confirms.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Raleigh City Council is expected to make a half-million investment toward an anchor hotel for the yet-to-be-renovated and expanded Raleigh Convention Center.

Tuesday morning Visit Raleigh confirmed to ABC11 that the city will select Omni Hotels Management Corporation to be the convention center hotel.

This will be the third Omni property in the state of North Carolina and the first for Raleigh. The Omni Raleigh Hotel is anticipated to include 550 guest rooms and 55,000 square feet of meeting space, which will allow for larger events to take place downtown and support the growth of the Raleigh Convention Center expansion. The hotel will also feature several food and beverage outlets, a rooftop pool, a signature Mokara spa and a fitness center

If all goes as planned, the new hotel is scheduled to be built on a one-acre lot at the end of Fayetteville Street across from the Raleigh Convention Center and Martin Marietta Center for the Performing Arts. The hotel is expected to open in 2027.

Not only will this put the city in a position to host more and larger events, it will create hundreds of jobs.

Details and designs are still being worked out, but the city will pay the hotel chain up to $495,000 for certain predevelopment costs associated with the project.

"We are encouraged by the progress we have made to date, and the city's approval today is a big step forward in advancing the design and development of this transformational project," said Omni Hotels and Resort Vice President of Development Brian Zelman.

"This is almost unprecedented that we're doing them both at once," said Raleigh Convention Center Director Kerry Painter. "We already have a high demand for hotel. We know when Omni moves in the market, we are going to be able to keep them full. And then we're going to get greater pieces of business and pieces of business from across the country and perhaps more international, so it's a real win all round."

Raleigh and Wake County leaders have been collaborating in hopes of drawing more tourists to the area by expanding the Convention Center and PNC Area.

In August 2023, the Wake County Board of Commissioners voted to give the Raleigh Convention Center $355 million in hospitality tax funds to add 500,000 square feet and 30 break-out rooms to the facility. As a result, the Red Hat Amphitheater will be relocated by one block to an unpaved lot by the Lenoir Street Parking Garage.

The Convention Center told the city last year that 45 percent of the business lost between 2018 and 2020 was because of a lack of hotel inventory.

In September, the Raleigh City Council approved a plan to begin negotiations with Omni Hotels & Resorts, to develop a new high-rise in downtown Raleigh.

PNC Arena will receive $21.3 million in hospitality tax revenues annually for 25 years, funds which will go toward renovations and enhanced building infrastructure. The vote comes after the Carolina Hurricanes announced earlier this month that they would extend their lease at the site for 20 years.

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