CFL News
October 28, 2011

McCormick Place deal helps secure trade shows, hotel renovations

Thanks in large part to the recent labor agreement at McCormick Place, Chicago has won the business from another trade show and convinced three major hotels to invest millions in renovations

Mayor Emanuel today announced that Solar Power International, which sees 27,000 attendees at its annual trade show, will be coming to Chicago in both 2013 and 2015, as a direct result of the labor settlement the Mayor helped negotiate on behalf of McCormick Place.

“Throughout the process we said that the labor rules must be changed so McCormick Place could be the number one destination in the world for the convention and trade show industry,” Mayor Emanuel said. “This is proof of that. I am committed to the growth of our tourism and convention industries, and the jobs and economic impact that come with it. I will continue to work alongside McCormick Place to attract the best conventions and trade shows from around the world to the best city in the world.”

Within days of the agreement, Solar Power International reaffirmed their commitment to hold their 2013 trade show in Chicago, and additionally signed on for 2015. The two shows are expected to bring about $80 million in economic impact to Chicago. Many of McCormick’s other conventions and trade shows are renewing their contracts right now, as a result of the labor deal.

“On behalf of all trade show organizers, I congratulate and applaud the agreement reached between labor and management which will enable the great city of Chicago and McCormick Place to once again serve as host for the most important business trade events in theUnited States,” said Brian Tully, Executive Director of Solar Power International. “This historic agreement is the final key piece to compliment a city and venue with many natural and invested assets that serve the business interests of trade show attendees from all over the world that enjoy coming to Chicago.”

Solar Power International (SPI) is a jointly owned trade event serving the interests of all businesses in the creation of clean, renewable and reliable solar electricity. The two Washington D.C. based associations are the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA). SPI is managed by Solar Energy Trade Shows, LLC (SETS). The SPI show is just 8 years old; it recently hosted its first show outside of California last week In Dallas. SPI set a record for exhibit sales with nearly 1200 companies exhibiting inside and outside the Dallas Convention Center in 1.1 million gross square feet of space. SPI’s audience of 21,000 attendees generated $26 million in local spending, according to the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“We are thrilled that Solar Power International will be coming to Chicago,” said MPEA Trustee Jim Reilly. “There is no doubt that the recent work rule reforms had a clear impact on Solar’s decision to make Chicago their home and we anticipate others will follow. With this new customer-friendly landscape, we are quite certain that we are now positioned to keep pace with our key competitors. We applaud our customers who have reaffirmed their commitment to Chicago and we applaud our partners in labor for working with us to make this day possible. McCormick Place is as strong as ever, which is great news for this important economic engine for Chicago.” In addition retaining $1.5 billion in meeting and convention business for the city, the great news about McCormick Place has been met with significant positive response from the hotel industry throughout Illinois.

A statement from Blackstone, the largest commercial real estate investor in the US, reads: "In conjunction with the City of Chicago's significant commitment to bolster the convention business, Blackstone will undertake $125 million of capital improvements on three Chicago hotel properties in its portfolio. The Hilton Chicago, Hilton Chicago O'Hare Airport and Wyndham Chicago hotels will be substantially renovated over the next several years. Theinvestment in these properties is anticipated to lead to the creation of 200-300 new jobs during construction."

The Hilton renovations are the first specific announcements about renovations as part of a series of Chicago hotels committed to $500 million in planned renovations and refurbishments, made possible exclusively because of the labor deal at McCormick place.

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