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Indianapolis Named 2009 Most Disability Friendly City April 21, 2009

Posted by ICVA Communications in Expansion & New Development, ICVA Business.
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INDIANAPOLIS – Mayor Greg Ballard today accepted congratulations from the president of the National Organization on Disability (NOD) in recognition of Indianapolis’s selection as the national model of a disability-friendly city. Sponsored by NOD, the 8th annual Accessible America competition showcases best practices in accessibility and the inclusion of persons with disabilities in community life.

“Indianapolis is honored to be recognized with the National Organization on Disability’s Accessible America Award,” said Mayor Ballard. “A commitment to make our city more inclusive for people with disabilities and the aging population has spanned generations, and I am pleased our collective efforts are benefiting both our residents and visitors.”

Approximately 20 percent of Indianapolis residents have a disability, and that number is expected to increase as medical technology saves more lives, baby boomers age and veterans return from combat.

NOD applauded Indianapolis for its historic commitment to access, including the creation of the Indianapolis Business Leadership Network, a business-led endeavor which promotes employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. It also highlighted the universally accessible features along the Cultural Trail and the efforts of Mayor’s Advisory Council on Disability in distinguishing Indianapolis from other communities. Additionally, NOD cited the City’s partnerships with the Veterans Administration, Bosma Enterprises and the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired in providing internships for students and adult jobseekers with disabilities, as well as training exercises for contractors regarding physical access.

Carol Glazer, NOD president remarked, “The National Organization on Disability is dedicated to recognizing best practices through which communities offer people with disabilities major footholds to an independent lifestyle, such as education and employment. We commend Indianapolis as a city that has worked hard to achieve a vision where opportunities are available to people of all abilities.”

As part of the recognition from NOD, the City will receive a check for $25,000. The funds will be presented to Mayor Ballard and representatives of the disability community by NOD at a future ceremony in Indianapolis. The money will be used to support access and inclusion for persons with disabilities and seniors in Indianapolis.

The six other finalists in the competition included: Alexandria, Virginia; Denver, Colorado; Louisville, Kentucky; New Haven, Connecticut; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Surprise, Arizona. AARP is the sponsor of this year’s competition. The mission of NOD is to expand the participation and contribution of America’s 54 million men, women and children with disabilities in all aspects of life. NOD created the Accessible America Competition in 2001 to identify cities, towns or counties that value, recognize and promote the economic, social and cultural contribution that people with disabilities represent. The purpose of the Accessible America Competition is to recognize exemplary community practices that facilitate the comprehensive involvement of citizens with disabilities in community life and promote replication of best practices and innovative ideas to communities, nationwide.

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American Library Association Coming to Indy March 30, 2009

Posted by ICVA Communications in Conventions & Meetings, Expansion & New Development, ICVA Business.
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INDIANAPOLIS – The American Library Association will bring its 2021 Midwinter Meeting to Indianapolis.  The meeting, Jan. 22-27, 2021, is expected to attract 11,000 attendees and fill more than 18,000 hotel rooms, according to the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association (ICVA).  Visitor spending is estimated at $11.6 million.

“As a result of the Indiana Convention Center expansion, the new Marriott Place hotel package and the continued enhancements of our downtown facilities, the American Library Association is the type of customer we are now able to attract,” said Don Welsh, president and CEO of the ICVA. “It is our furthest booking out and we’re thrilled to have them in Indianapolis for the first time in their history.”

Other cities hosting the ALA in upcoming years include Boston, San Diego, Dallas, Seattle, Philadelphia and Chicago.

The mission of the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association is to advance Indianapolis tourism and economic growth.  The ICVA seeks to increase the number of visitors and their financial impact, expand positive perception of Indianapolis and positively influence the visitor experience.  According to a Global Insight report, in partnership with D.K. Shiffllet & Associates, 21.9 million visitors annually provide $3.56 billion in total annual economic impact of tourism on the Indianapolis economy resulting in 66,621 full-time equivalent employment positions in the hospitality industry.

NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee Selects Women’s Final Four Sites for the Years 2012-16 November 14, 2008

Posted by ICVA Communications in Events, Expansion & New Development, ICVA Business.
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INDIANAPOLIS – The NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee has chosen five future Women’s Final Four sites for the years 2012-2016.  The Women’s Final Four sites are:

            2012 – Denver.  Mountain West Conference, host.
            2013 – New Orleans. University of New Orleans, host.
            2014 – Nashville.  Ohio Valley Conference, host.
            2015 – Tampa Bay.  University of South Florida, host.
            2016 – Indianapolis. Butler University, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and Horizon League, hosts.

“The women’s basketball committee invested a tremendous amount of time and effort in the Women’s Final Four site selection process,” said Jacki Silar, chair of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee and associate director of athletics at Duke University.  “It was a very difficult and important decision and it was the committee’s charge to determine which of the cities would best serve as future host sites for the pinnacle of women’s basketball – the Women’s Final Four.”

After submitting an intent-to-bid form last November, representatives of 12 cities attended a pre-bid seminar in January, and they met with NCAA staff for individual planning and progress updates in April and again in June.  After selecting eight finalist cities in August, women’s basketball committee members made site visits to each finalist city in September and October 2008.  Following the site visits to each prospective city, representatives of the bid committee made final presentations to the committee on Nov. 11-12 in Indianapolis.

“The committee appreciated the work and effort of each of the cities that participated in this bid selection process,” Silar said.  “Committee members evaluated each prospective host city based on many criteria, weighing each element’s importance and what is critical to successfully host a Women’s Final Four.”

When evaluating prospective host cities, the committee reviewed each city’s competition venue, convention center, hotel community, transportation plans, legacy programs and financial commitment, as well as the community’s and prospective host institution/conference’s overall commitment to the event.

“This is an exciting time for the game of collegiate women’s basketball and this was evident by the number and quality of cities that participated in the bid process as prospective 2012-16 Women’s Final Four hosts,” said NCAA President Myles Brand.  “Congratulations to the five cities selected as these cities represent the future for this great event.   In 2016, the NCAA will celebrate the 35th anniversary season of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship.  With cities such as Denver, New Orleans, Nashville, Tampa Bay and Indianapolis serving as future hosts, we believe the Women’s Final Four will continue its growth as a marquee event and continue to be the ultimate experience for our student-athletes.”

The cities selected represent a blend of cities with past Women’s Final Four hosting experience in Indianapolis (2005), New Orleans (1991, 2004) and Tampa Bay (2008), while Denver and Nashville will be hosting the event for the first time.

“We would like to express our appreciation to the prospective host cities and bid committees that participated in the bid process for the 2012-16 Women’s Final Four,” said NCAA Executive Vice President Tom Jernstedt.  “The time, effort and enthusiasm in each of their bids were noteworthy and because of this kind of commitment and engagement, the Women’s Final Four will continue to be the outstanding ‘celebration’ of women’s basketball that it has become.  This was a difficult decision by the Division I Women’s Basketball Committee, and I applaud their efforts in determining the five cities that will serve as the future host cities for the pinnacle event in women’s basketball.”
 
The NCAA is a membership-led nonprofit association of colleges and universities committed to supporting academic and athletic opportunities for more than 400,000 student-athletes at more than 1,000 member colleges and universities. Each year, more than 54,000 student-athletes compete in NCAA championships in Divisions I, II and III sports. Visit www.ncaa.org and www.ncaa.com for more details about the Association, its goals and members and corporate partnerships that help support programs for student-athletes.

Media Contact: Rick Nixon, Associate Director of Division I Women’s Basketball Championship, 317-917-6539

Airport Authority Approves Lower Daily Parking Fee at New Garage September 19, 2008

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INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Airport Authority Board set parking fees for the new Indianapolis Airport at its meeting today, including a daily rate for the new garage that is $6 lower than the rate at the present garage and free parking at the “cell phone” parking lot at the new airport.

At the current airport garage, the maximum daily fee is $22. For the new garage, located adjacent to the new Col. H. Weir Cook Terminal, the maximum daily fee will be $16.

“We want our visitors to talk about how much they enjoyed the experience of our new airport,” Authority Board President Randall L. Tobias said. “And we want to encourage them to use our new garage.”

The parking rates for the new airport, set to open for incoming flights on the evening of Nov. 11 and for all flights on Nov. 12, were part of the Board’s annual schedule of rates and charges adopted at its Friday meeting.

The new airport, located at Exit 68 on I-70, just west of I-465 in Indianapolis, will have a parking garage that can accommodate 5,900 private cars and 1,200 rental cars. The long-term and economy surface lots located just west of the garage will have space for 11,000 cars. Shuttle buses will carry travelers from the surface lots to the new terminal.

The new airport also will feature a free “cell phone” lot, where drivers can wait for calls from travelers, then drive to the terminal to pick them up.

The full schedule of parking fees adopted by the Authority Board is as follows:

Parking garage: Each half-hour: $2.00; maximum each 24 hours: $16.00
Long-term lot: Each 24-hour period: $11.00
Economy lot: Each 24-hour period: $7

The new parking garage will have moving walkways on its main floor, as well as 10 elevators and eight escalators. The garage also will include the Ground Transportation Center, which will contain rental car agencies, limousine, shuttle and other transportation services.

Contact: David Dawson, (317) 752-0873; Susan Sullivan, (317) 487-2025

RCA Dome Roof Deflation Scheduled for Sept. 24 September 15, 2008

Posted by ICVA Communications in Conventions & Meetings, Expansion & New Development, ICVA Business.
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INDIANAPOLIS – The skyline of downtown Indianapolis will be noticeably altered when the RCA Dome fabric roof is deflated on Wednesday, September 24 at 10:30 a.m., according to the Indiana Stadium and Convention Building Authority (ISCBA).  The deflation, which is expected to last 30 to 45 minutes, will consist of turning off the large fans creating pressure that keeps the roof inflated.

The roof deflation is the next step toward the removal of the Dome, which paves the way for construction of a $275 million major expansion of the Indiana Convention Center – a structure that will be attached to the new Lucas Oil Stadium by an enclosed pedestrian connector.
 
In a brief ceremony, former Mayor Bill Hudnut — during whose administration the Dome was constructed — will flip a switch to turn off the large fans.  The ceremony will begin at 10:30 a.m. on the north steps of Lucas Oil Stadium.  It will include various individuals who have been associated with the Dome over the years, sharing memories as the roof slowly descends.
 
When completed in the late fall of 2010, the expanded Convention Center — combined with the new Stadium space – will increase the amount of exhibition, meeting room, ballroom and pre-function space from about 725,000 square feet to more than 1.2 million square feet.  That includes 253,100 square feet of exhibition space and 63,000 square feet of meeting room space.
 
Walls and ceilings that don’t comprise the Dome’s structural frame are currently being demolished and removed, as are salvage and memorabilia items.  About half of the Dome will be dismantled with traditional demolition methods and the remaining upper level seating areas will be imploded, which is scheduled to occur in December.

According to the construction manager, a joint venture of Shiel Sexton/Powers and Sons, the project is on schedule, including the construction of new meeting rooms at the northwest corner of the existing Convention Center.
 
The Dome’s eight-acre roof consists of two layers of fabric supported by a series of cables and fans.  The facility had a maximum seating capacity of 60,500 permanent seats (57,965 for football), but could be configured for more than that number for NCAA Final Four games and other special events.
 
For 24 years, the Dome provided extraordinary and invaluable service to Indianapolis and Indiana.  It was the home for the Indianapolis Colts, hosted numerous national and international conventions, trade shows and church assemblies, and served as the site for IHSAA high school and NCAA college football and basketball championships.  It hosted presidential speeches, countless concerts and other major and recurring events.
 
For example, on July 9, 1984, the Dome set a new world attendance record for an indoor basketball game – 67,596 fans — when the U.S. Olympic basketball team played an exhibition against a team of NBA All-Stars.  In addition to the Colts and IHSAA and NCAA championships, recurring events included the Bands of America Grand Nationals, Circle City Classic, Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration and Supercross.  
 
Originally called the Hoosier Dome when it was opened in May 1984, the facility was renamed the RCA Dome in 1994 when Thomson Consumer Electronics, a division of RCA, paid $10 million for naming rights over 10 years.

When the expansion is complete, the Capital Improvement Board of Managers (CIB) will manage the Convention Center, as it does Lucas Oil Stadium.  The ISCBA is the state agency responsible for financing, designing and constructing both the Convention Center expansion and the new Stadium.

Contact: David Sease or Lou Gerig, 317-634-1171

New Airport Features Impressive Mix of Local Favorites and Top National Brands July 18, 2008

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When it opens November 11, travelers and visitors passing through the new Indianapolis International Airport will instantly recognize more than 40 new and returning national brands, including Starbucks, McDonald’s, CNBC, Brooks Brothers, Harley-Davidson, Borders, Pacific Outfitters, Au Bon Pain, Qdoba, Brookstone, Johnston & Murphy, and Cold Stone Creamery.
                            
They will also be able to enjoy one-of-a-kind shopping and dining experiences that showcase some of the city’s top restaurants, arts and cultural institutions, and sports organizations.
 
In an announcement made yesterdat by the Indianapolis Airport Authority, Board President Randall L. Tobias explained, “When we began planning the types of shops and restaurants needed at the airport, we felt it was important that the true feel and flavor of Indiana be evident. We also wanted to be sure the selections would satisfy the needs, tastes, and lifestyle preferences of contemporary business and leisure travelers.”
 
The result is a hometown line-up featuring a number of major players, including:

—  The first-ever Indianapolis 500 Grill, a sit-down restaurant which will be accompanied by a Brickyard Authentics apparel and collectible store and an Indianapolis 500 museum.

—  One of the nation’s first and most comprehensive local museum stores, Cultural Crossroads, is a ground-breaking partnership offering merchandise and displays from eight leading Indianapolis museums and cultural institutions, including: The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis; Conner Prairie, a nationally acclaimed living history museum; Eiteljorg Museum of American Indian & Western Art; Indiana Historical Society; Indiana State Museum; Indianapolis Art Center; Indianapolis Museum of Art; and the Indianapolis Zoo.
 
—  Harry & Izzy’s restaurant in Concourse A will offer the iconic shrimp cocktail made famous at St. Elmo Steakhouse as part of its classic-but-casual menu.

—  Café Patachou, Indianapolis’ favorite bistro, will open Patachou on the Fly, a take-off of the city’s beloved neighborhood establishment voted “Best Place for Breakfast” by Indianapolis Monthly for 15 years running.

Joie Chitwood, President of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, was among the speakers at the event. “Creating a restaurant that expresses the history and drama of the Speedway has been an idea in search of the right location. With all of the visitors that flow through the airport, we are excited about this unique opportunity to expose them to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway brand.  When travelers grab a seat in the new Indianapolis 500 Grill, they will instantly know they are in Indy, the world’s racing capital,” he said.
 
Noted Craig Huse, president of Harry & Izzy’s, “The namesakes of this quintessential Indianapolis restaurant were an important part of the excitement of driving the city’s early growth, so we are tremendously proud to participate in this bold new chapter in city history.”
 
Jeff Patchen, president and CEO of the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, represented the eight local museums and cultural institutions that join forces for the Cultural Crossroads store. “The new Indianapolis International Airport is the first in the U.S. to provide one store highlighting such a large cross section of local cultural treasures. Each of the institutions represented plans to host exhibits and demonstrations that will ensure even regular airport visitors always have fresh and diverse experiences.”
 
Mandy Swift, who co-owns Broad Ripple’s Just Pop In gourmet popcorn shop with sister Carly Swift, also spoke, noting that as “A small-business owner, I am excited about the opportunity to launch a new store at the airport that has the potential to reach millions of passengers each year.”
 
Other well-known local and state brands will operate out of the new terminal when it opens later this year:

—  Shapiro’s Delicatessen, Indy’s famous kosher-style delicatessen, will follow its tradition of offering piled-high corned beef sandwiches and other generous portion sizes at modest prices, at the new airport.

—  Home of the “Build Your Own” hot dog, King David Dogs will bring its downtown Indianapolis flavor to Concourse B.

—  96th Street Steakburgers, one of the city’s favorite retro-cool burger joints, will serve its top-notch, juicy burgers and other fare.

—  Indianapolis’ well-known downtown pizzeria, Giorgio’s Pizza, will serve its signature New York-style pies by the slice.

—  Vera Bradley, the famous Hoosier maker of colorful cotton, silk, and denim handbags, totes, duffels, backpacks, and more will offer its exclusive line of signature gifts and merchandise.

—  Growing chocolatier South Bend Chocolate Company will offer its one-of-a-kind chocolates, premier ice cream, and other treats to take home or enjoy before leaving the airport.
   
The new 1.2 million-square-foot terminal, with two 20-gate concourses, has given the Indianapolis Airport Authority (IAA) a rare opportunity to be creative and still meet the everyday needs of air travelers, Ambassador Tobias said.  “We decided to negotiate individually for each concession concept and tenant rather than turn the entire operation over to one airport concession company. We believe our customers will enjoy the results,” he added.
 
Some of the new airport’s restaurants, news and gift stores, specialty shops, and other service providers have individual contracts with IAA. Others are partnering with major airport concession operators, including Areas, HDS Retail, HMS Host, Paradies, and SSP America.
 
The dining and shopping center of the airport will be Civic Plaza, which will offer approximately 25,000 square feet of restaurants and specialty retailers. Each of the two concourses will have approximately 15,000 square feet of retail space.

Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association Welcomes Donald Welsh as New President & CEO June 20, 2008

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Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association Names Donald Welsh as New President & CEO

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association (ICVA) has named Donald P. Welsh as its new President & CEO. Welsh, 52, who has been the president and CEO of the Seattle Convention and Visitors Bureau, will assume his duties with the ICVA on Aug. 1. Welsh succeeds Bob Bedell who announced his retirement last December effective July 31. Bedell has served as president and CEO since 2002.

Welsh said he was attracted to Indianapolis by a mix of both professional and personal reasons. His arrival coincides with the opening of Lucas Oil Stadium in August, the opening of the midfield terminal at Indianapolis International Airport in October, the beginning of construction on expansion of the Indiana Convention Center and construction of the 1,600-room Marriott hotel complex anchored by the 1,000-room JW Marriott. He said Indianapolis is a “marketer’s dream come true.”

A veteran of more than 20 years in the hospitality industry, Welsh was chosen from a nationwide search that began with more than 100 applicants.

“This is a big deal for us,” said Jim Morris, the president of Pacers Sports & Entertainment and ICVA board member who chaired the search committee. “Don is one of the most extraordinary leaders of the convention, tourism and hospitality industry in all of North America. When he came here to visit, he displayed a genuine passion for our community and the importance of this activity for the economy of Indianapolis and Central Indiana.”

“Don’s qualities in particular and the number of exceptional candidates seeking this position reflect the nationwide recognition that Indianapolis is a convention, meetings and tourism destination with a great future,” said Jerry Semler, ICVA chairman of the board. “We have found absolutely the right man to lead the ICVA and the Indianapolis hospitality industry during this exciting phase of expansion and growth.

Prior to becoming president and CEO of the Seattle bureau, Welsh served as its senior vice president for sales and marketing from 2003-2005.

A native of Baltimore, Welsh has served in various sales and marketing capacities for the Westin Hotels and Resorts, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas and Wyndham International.

In 2000-2001, he was president of the Continental Basketball Association, working with former Indiana Pacers coach Isiah Thomas. After the CBA ceased operations, Welsh returned to the hospitality industry as executive vice president for business development at Helms Briscoe, one of the nation’s top meeting planning companies. There, he managed clients such as Four Seasons, Starwood, Marriott and Hilton.
In 2003, he moved to the Seattle CVB as senior vice president of sales and marketing.

As president and CEO in Seattle, he has overseen a staff of 50 full-time employees and a budget of $11 million. In 2007, the 9,000 hotel rooms in the core of downtown Seattle had an occupancy rate of 75 percent.

Welsh successfully rebranded the Seattle CVB in 2006 with the current brand, “Seattle, Metronatural.” He also implemented a Tourism Matters campaign to raise awareness among local citizens and elected officials about the significant impact of tourism.

Welsh and his wife, Jean, have four daughters: Ashley, 24; Laura, 20; Amanda, 18, and Sarah, 14.

The mission of the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association is to advance Indianapolis tourism and economic growth. The ICVA seeks to increase the number of visitors and their financial impact, expand positive perception of Indianapolis and positively influence the visitor experience. According to a Global Insight report, in partnership with D.K. Shiffllet & Associates, 21.9 million visitors annually provide $3.56 billion in total annual economic impact of tourism on the Indianapolis economy resulting in 66,621 full-time equivalent employment positions in the hospitality industry.

Contact: Bob Schultz, APR, 317-639-4772, bschultz@indianapolis.org

Post-Sept. 11 U.S. Airport Designs Specialize in ‘Security that You Can’t See’ June 6, 2008

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INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Nine bulky luggage scanners worth $1 million each wait silently beneath the new terminal, poised to check for explosives at a combined rate of 3,600 bags an hour.

Concrete bollards guard the main doors. Blast-resistant glass fills the front windows of the $1.1 billion terminal at Indianapolis International Airport, which will open this fall.

New and renovated airports have poured millions of dollars into safety upgrades since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, working advice from explosives experts into design plans that encompass everything from the most secure place for parking garages to more efficient security checkpoints.

“We haven’t had to dig a moat around the terminal or anything,” said Jay McQueen, deputy project director for the Indianapolis terminal. “It’s been an incremental set of changes to help make everything more secure.”

The Sept. 11 attacks, in which hijackers seized control of airliners leaving from Boston, Newark and Washington, triggered a massive re-examination of airport security. Passengers saw the formation of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration shortly after the attacks, and they’ve since become used to spending more time in security checkpoints having their shoes x-rayed and carrying only limited amounts of liquids.

But many other upgrades fly beneath their radar.

“We like to say around here that the best kind of security is the security that you can’t see,” said Ken Capps, vice president of public affairs for the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, which opened a new international terminal in 2005.

In Indianapolis, those steps include the bollards, windows that will fold like a drape when broken rather than exploding into shards of flying glass, and a 240-foot-wide (72-meter-deep) strip of lawn that will separate the front entrance of the new terminal from its five-story parking garage.

The grassy median, which will be planted between the garage and a road leading up to the terminal, isn’t for pastoral effect. It’s the product of a federal mandate requiring all buildings that hold cars be kept at least 300 feet (90 meters) from an airport terminal. Blast analysis, which looks at how a building withstands an explosion, has become a routine part of airport design, said Tom Darmody, senior vice president of aviation and transportation for the design firm HOK.

“For the most part, people weren’t even thinking about this ’til after 9/11,” said Andy Bell, vice president of planning at the Dallas/Fort Worth airport.

Planners generally use bollards or cement piers to keep possible bomb-laden cars at least 20 feet (6 meters) to 30 feet (9 meters) from a building’s support beams, said Dick Marchi, a senior adviser with Airports Council International-North America.

“The real fear is that somebody will bring a building down,” Marchi said. “Turns out with blast protection, a relatively small distance (away) does an awful lot of good.”

Airports have spread out the cost of these upgrades using bond revenue, rent hikes and parking garage money, among other sources of income. Still, some of the expense filters down in the form of higher prices for a cup of coffee or a parking space.

“The passenger ultimately pays for everything,” Marchi said.

The Indianapolis terminal is one of the first airports designed and built since Sept. 11. Planners more than doubled the space provided for security equipment compared with the current airport. They added a room for isolating international travelers suspected of carrying a contagious disease.

They also spent $24 million to build an inline baggage screening system beneath the terminal’s main floor. The system includes about a mile of conveyor belts that feed luggage through scanners, which compare bag contents with properties found in explosives. Security personnel will keep watch from a nearby room, and they’ll be able to quickly divert any suspicious bags.

Since the government now requires all baggage to be checked for explosives, the Transportation Security Administration provided the scanners for Indianapolis. Previously, only luggage on international flights had to be scanned.

Dallas/Fort Worth plans a similar baggage screening system for its five terminals. Bell expects to spend about $140 million on it by the time it’s finished in 2010.

Construction started on that airport’s new international terminal shortly before the 2001 attacks. Planners adjusted their design to add $47 million in security upgrades.

They fortified walls with more steel and concrete, and they set up a separate road for deliveries. Drivers must pass a security checkpoint to get near the terminal. Shipments are then dropped at a central location and screened before they reach the vendor.

“This is really the trend of the future,” Bell said. “Everybody would be basically prearranging this so there wouldn’t be any strange beer truck that comes out of nowhere.”

Airports also hope to boost security by making passengers happier about the checkpoint process.

Indianapolis will use natural light to help improve the mood around its two checkpoints, and it plans to install monitors that tell passengers how long it takes to pass through checkpoints.

The Dallas/Fort Worth airport, meanwhile, plans to use video displays and recorded messages to direct passengers in a less irritating manner.

“In the past, the town crier TSA guy would, every five minutes, look up and start yelling at everybody to take out your liquids,” Bell said.

Bell also wants to set up parallel tables before the checkpoints so more people can remove their shoes and wallets for scanning. That will tame checkpoint waits and keep passengers calm, which makes it easier to spot potential problems.

“If everybody’s irritated and cussing,” Bell said, “it’s hard to tell who might be a person of interest.”

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Construction underway on breathtaking JW Marriott Indianapolis June 2, 2008

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Groundbreaking Begins Development of Premier Convention Headquarters Complex

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – May 29, 2008 – White Lodging, Whiteco Industries and REI Real Estate Services today celebrated the groundbreaking of the $425 million JW Marriott Indianapolis development featuring 1,623 rooms in the heart of downtown Indianapolis.

With shovels in hand, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, White Lodging Chairman and CEO Bruce W. White, REI Real Estate Services President Michael W. Wells, along with community leaders gathered at the seven acre site near the White River State Park to break ground on the largest JW Marriott hotel in the U.S. based on the number of rooms.

The dynamic hotel development will include the city’s largest, full-service convention hotel. In addition to the JW Marriott Indianapolis featuring 1,005 rooms, the hotel property includes the Indianapolis Courtyard by Marriott Downtown (294 rooms), the Indianapolis Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Downtown (168 rooms), and the Indianapolis SpringHill Suites by Marriott Downtown (156 rooms).

“This is a signature hotel development for White Lodging. I am proud to be a part of shaping the downtown skyline on property our company has owned for more than 20 years,” said Bruce W. White, president and CEO of White Lodging.

The unique crescent moon design of the JW Marriott Indianapolis featuring a blue-tint glass curtain wall system will extend the city skyline to the West of downtown next to the White River State Park. With 34-floors and standing 375 feet tall, the JW Marriott Indianapolis tower will be the tallest hotel in Indianapolis. The more than 105,000 square feet of meeting space includes one of the world’s largest Marriott hotel ballrooms – an enormous Grand Ballroom totaling 40,000 square feet.

“This is one of the largest Marriott developments in the country,” said J.W. Marriott, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of Marriott International. “The commitment from Indianapolis leaders to grow the hospitality and tourism industry has created an environment for the JW brand to be the centerpiece of an unprecedented development that will serve countless guests and visitors in this vibrant downtown area.”

The four Marriott hotels will serve as an anchor for the Indianapolis convention and tourism industry which totals more than $3.25 billion a year. In addition, the JW Marriott Indianapolis development is critical to Indianapolis hosting the 2012 Super Bowl and future NCAA events.

Hunt Construction Group is leading the construction management team. Architects on the project include Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum (HOK) and CSO Architects.

The JW Marriott Indianapolis sales office, headed by Director of Sales and Marketing Cory Chambers, is actively booking advance group sales for this premier hotel development in the heart of downtown Indianapolis. For more information, contact Cory Chambers at: (317) 573-6534 or by e-mail at cory.chambers@whitelodging.com

March 2010 is the anticipated grand opening for the Indianapolis Courtyard by Marriott Downtown, Indianapolis Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Downtown, and Indianapolis Springhill Suites by Marriott Downtown, in addition to, the grand re-opening of the popular T.G.I. Friday’s restaurant. The JW Marriott Indianapolis grand opening is planned for March 2011.

ABOUT THE JW MARRIOTT INDIANAPOLIS DEVELOPMENT
The spectacular $425 million JW Marriott Indianapolis development will feature 1,623 rooms and include the JW Marriott Indianapolis, Indianapolis Courtyard by Marriott Downtown, Indianapolis Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Downtown, and the Indianapolis SpringHill Suites by Marriott Downtown. Once completed, the luxurious and spacious hotel complex will serve as the premier convention headquarters hotel in Indianapolis with more than 105,000 square feet of meeting, banquet and exhibit space and one of Marriott’s largest hotel ballrooms in the world totaling 40,000 square feet. This landmark hotel development will serve as an anchor for central Indiana’s convention and tourism industry. Located on a seven acre site overlooking the White River State Park, guests are steps away from a thriving downtown with numerous, exciting entertainment attractions. The grand opening for the Courtyard by Marriott, Fairfield Inn & Suites, SpringHill Suites, and the T.G.I. Friday’s is March 2010. The JW Marriott Indianapolis will open in March 2011.

ABOUT WHITE LODGING
Established in 1985 and headquartered in Merrillville, IN, White Lodging is a fully integrated developer, owner and manager of premium brand hotels – a recognized leader that consistently delivers superior leading brand hotel experiences and premium returns on investment among mid-to-large scale hotels across the country. With over 20 years of expertise and future development projects of $1.5 billion over the next three to five years, White Lodging continues to break ground as one of the fastest growing independent hospitality companies in the country. Their managed portfolio of 130 hotels in seventeen states encompasses representation of the following leading brands: Marriott; Residence Inn by Marriott, Courtyard by Marriott, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott; SpringHill Suites by Marriott; Renaissance; Radisson Hotels; Intercontinental Hotel Group; Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites and Starwood. For more information about White Lodging, visit http://www.whitelodging.com

ABOUT REI
Located in Carmel, IN, since 1995, REI Real Estate Services is a complete real estate services company that owns, builds, develops, leases and manages a portfolio of office, hotel and mixed use developments throughout the United States. REI owns over 1.5 million square feet of office space and operates more than 3 million square feet in the Indianapolis area alone. They have developed such high profile projects in downtown Indianapolis as Emmis Communications Headquarters, Anthem Operations Center and the Marriott Downtown Indianapolis. REI extends well beyond its hometown market with major office, mid-to large-scale hotels, and high-rise residential ownership holdings and developments underway in: Austin, TX; Phoenix, AZ; Louisville, KY; Salt Lake City, UT; Miramar, FL and internationally in Belize.

ABOUT HUNT CONSTRUCTION GROUP
Hunt Construction Group was established 1944 in Indianapolis, and is ranked by Engineering News-Record as one of the nation’s top commercial construction management / general contacting firms. Hunt is no stranger to hospitality construction. Throughout the state of Indiana alone, Hunt has completed four major hotels including the Conrad Hotel and Residential Tower and the Marriott Convention Center Hotel both in downtown Indianapolis. Hunt has also completed numerous Marriott hotels including JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix, AZ; Grande Lakes Resort & Spa (JW Marriott & Ritz-Carlton) in Orlando, FL; Marriott Downtown Hotel in Louisville, KY; Marriott Hotel, Marina & Convention Center in San Diego, CA; and the Marriott Hotel in Bridgewater, NJ. With over 55 hotel projects completed across the country, Hunt is proud to be ranked #2 by Engineering News-Record for Hotel & Convention Center construction.

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Contact:

Jeremy Stephenson
Director of Development
REI Real Estate Services
(317) 573-6050
jstephenson@reirealestate.com

Cory Chambers
Director of Sales and Marketing
JW Marriott Indianapolis
(317) 573-6534
cory.chambers@whitelodging.com

Roger Harvey
Vice President
Bose Public Affairs Group
(317) 684-5416
rharvey@bosepublicaffairs.com

IMS announces extensive plans for centennial era May 27, 2008

Posted by ICVA Communications in Expansion & New Development.
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INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, May 22, 2008 – The Indianapolis Motor Speedway will celebrate 100 years of worldwide leadership in motorsports entertainment through its Centennial Era from 2009-2011, which will feature many special events, a new, retro corporate logo and redevelopment of the area surrounding the Racing Capital of the World.

Plans for the Centennial Era celebration were revealed by IMS Chief Executive Officer Tony George and IMS President and Chief Operating Officer Joie Chitwood during an event May 22 at Allison Mansion of Marian College in Indianapolis.

IMS is honoring the 100th anniversaries of the opening of the venerable racetrack, in 1909, and of the inaugural Indianapolis 500, in 1911, through the Centennial Era celebration.

Indiana businessmen Carl G. Fisher, James A. Allison, Arthur C. Newby and Frank H. Wheeler pooled their resources to build the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1909 as an automobile testing ground to support Indiana’s growing automotive industry. The focus of the facility soon turned to racing, with Ray Harroun winning the inaugural Indianapolis 500 on May 30, 1911.

“No other motorsports facility in the world has the rich history and tradition of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” said IMS Chairman of the Board Mari Hulman George. “The Centennial Era celebration will pay homage to the heroes and events of our storied past while anticipating an even more glorious future.”

There are many intertwined components to the Centennial Era celebration:

  • Centennial Era Logo. A new Centennial Era logo will be used at IMS from 2009-2011. The logo, designed by IMS Creative Services, draws elements from 1909, 1934 and 1961 in a historic motif.
  • Centennial Gala. A Centennial Gala will take place in late February 2009 in downtown Indianapolis, with dinner and live entertainment. Proceeds of the formal Gala will benefit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Foundation, which operates the Hall of Fame Museum.
  • Balloon Festival. A balloon festival will take place on the first weekend of May 2009 at IMS. The two-day event will commemorate the first competitive event ever at the Speedway, a gas-filled balloon race June 5, 1909.
  • Concours d’Elegance. A Concours d’Elegance, which is a competition between vehicle owners to be judged on the appearance of their machinery, will take place in summer 2010 at IMS. The event will celebrate the significance of vehicular transportation and competition to Indianapolis and feature a vehicle auction, vintage racing competition and a black-tie gala.
  • New Interstate Interchange. A completely redesigned highway interchange at Interstate 465, Interstate 74 and Crawfordsville Road will create a new front door to the Town of Speedway, in which the entire IMS facility is located, and enhance traffic flow to and from IMS.
  • Town of Speedway Redevelopment. A large redevelopment project in the Town of Speedway will transform 400 acres south and west of IMS into a vibrant, thriving and attractive downtown that fosters growth within the existing business community and encourages the development of new businesses, particularly in the motorsports industry. Redevelopment will make the area surrounding IMS a year-round destination for race fans. Highlights include a retail/commercial corridor along Main Street, improved traffic flow by extending Crawfordsville Road to meet 16th Street south of IMS, and improving pedestrian safety and accessibility around IMS, including creating a linear park just west of IMS on what is now Georgetown Road.

“The Centennial Era celebration is the most multi-faceted evidence ever of our commitment to worldwide leadership in motorsports entertainment,” IMS CEO Tony George said. “It creates a clear, focused vision for our future while honoring the competitors and fans who have made the Speedway the landmark destination for speed over the past 100 years.”

More details about the components of the Centennial Era will be released in the future.

IMS tickets:
To purchase tickets, camping or parking for the Indianapolis 500, Allstate 400 at the Brickyard and Red Bull Indianapolis GP, contact the IMS ticket office at (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, (317) 492-6700 locally or log on to http://www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com.

Contacts:
Ron Green, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, (317) 492-6780, rgreen@brickyard.com
Paul Kelly, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, (315) 673-0184, pkelly@brickyard.com
http://www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com