The Charlotte City Council voted unanimously to invest $8 million toward the completion of the Marriott Hotel and Conference Center at UNC Charlotte. This planned conference center will enable the University to bring large research symposia and academic conferences to Charlotte.
City leaders commented favorably on the project. Gregory Phipps, who represents the city's District 4 on the council, stated “the project will bring conferences to the campus and Charlotte that are not coming here today, and this will have a positive impact on the area.”
Councilman Braxton Winston said the University’s conference center “is a great example of an investment that we want to have by a light rail station. It will continue to tie the University area to uptown so that we can expand the city to have access for more people.”
Councilwoman Dimple Ajmera added, “This (conference center) is a great educational opportunity that gives access to researchers and experts in various fields. It will help our city become one of the best when it comes to educational talent.”
The UNC Charlotte Foundation will own the Marriott Hotel and Conference Center at UNC Charlotte; Sage Hospitality of Denver, Colorado, will operate the facility. The center’s location adjacent to the J.W. Clay/UNC Charlotte Station for the CATS Blue Line light rail would enable symposia and conference attendees to reach the cultural, recreational and culinary amenities at Center City via a short 22-minute train ride, which also would eliminate their need to secure parking in Uptown Charlotte.
University leaders said Charlotte’s investment will enable the conference center to accommodate a larger, more technologically sophisticated conference space normally found in a hotel with 226 rooms. With conference space of 24,000 square feet, the complex could support symposia and events of up to 500 attendees.
The addition of first-class conference space to University City will generate new business for the city and for nearby hotels and retailers. Within the first seven years, projected estimates show the hotel and conference center could generate nearly $9 million in city, county and state taxes. Net proceeds are projected to generate $7 million in the first five years, which the UNC Charlotte Foundation could use to develop additional scholarships for students and to address other high-priority needs of the University.