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Philadelphia Needs More Hotels Near Convention Center, Marketers Say

(The Pennsylvania Convention Center, with Philadelphia City Hall in the background.  File photo by Randall E. Scott)

(The Pennsylvania Convention Center, with Philadelphia City Hall in the background. File photo by Randall E. Scott)

John McDevitt John McDevitt
John McDevitt has been a reporter and editor at KYW Newsradio 1060...
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By John McDevitt

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Marketing experts say Philadelphia is in need of another large, “anchor” hotel to support the promotion of the expanded Pennsylvania Convention Center, at Broad and Arch Streets in center city.

There is a 246-room hotel being built across the street from one side entrance of the convention center, at 12th and Arch Streets (see related story), but city tourism officials say a bigger hotel, like the existing Marriott at 12th and Market, is needed to attract large conventions.

“Convention planners prefer not to have their attendees spread out,” explains Ed Grose, executive director of the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association.  “It cuts down on transportation costs and  makes planning for the conventions much easier.”

Currently, conventions with large numbers of attendees must book hotel space outside of center city — sometimes even outside the city limits — to meet their housing needs.

John Grady, president of the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation says  another anchor hotel is a piece of the puzzle that will allow the Philadelphia convention market to grow, “and we have been focused on identifying opportunities around the convention center where a project like that could occur,” he tells KYW Newsradio.

Hotel developers have proposed a 700-room W/Element Hotel near 15th and Chestnut Streets,  but that’s certainly not a done deal — financing has yet to be secured.

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