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First event is booked for 2013

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The city's trade, exhibit and event center has its first official booking, the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau announced Tuesday.

The Georgia Association of Housing and Redevelopment Authorities will hold its annual conference at the TEE center in September 2013, bringing at least $429,000 to the area, according to estimates from the bureau.

"This is the size group that we're hoping for, with about 525 delegates and a trade show component," said Peggy Seigler, the CVB's vice president of sales and marketing. "This will really be the piece that we will be able to fit in the TEE center that we haven't been able to fit in Augusta before."

The last time the group held its annual conference in Augusta was 2008, but the meeting had outgrown the city's facilities, said Jake Oglesby, the site selection chairman for the association and the executive director of the Augusta Housing Authority.

"The last time we were here, our exhibitors were kind of scattered about in separate rooms," Oglesby said. "They weren't in one big facility, so they didn't like that too much. Generally, when you have exhibitors at your conference, they all like to be together in one big space."

The 2008 conference in Augusta drew 450 participants, compared with the group's conference this year in Savannah, which yielded a record 525 delegates and 50 exhibitors.

The Convention and Visitors Bureau is targeting groups that have previously held events in Augusta, in addition to new ones, Seigler said.

"We have been keeping a list of groups that have grown out of our existing space, so we've known a few to check up on," she said.

The $38 million TEE center project on Reynolds Street is slated for completion in spring 2012. Many groups are already planning ahead for 2012 and 2013, Seigler said, and the bureau hopes to have a 45 percent occupancy rate after the TEE center opens in 2012 and then steadily reach for an industry standard 60 percent.

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Emerydan
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Emerydan 10/12/10 - 03:18 pm
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Maybe they can rename it the

Maybe they can rename it the TEA Center and attract the annual Alcoholics Anonymous Convention...of course not much business for the downtown bars though.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 10/12/10 - 03:19 pm
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It is only fitting that the

It is only fitting that the first convention is governmental rather than private sector.

Emerydan
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Emerydan 10/12/10 - 03:36 pm
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Well they are probably coming

Well they are probably coming to scout out more places to put section 8 housing..and isn't Augusta the perfect location?

GeraldinGa
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GeraldinGa 10/12/10 - 04:08 pm
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Richmond county is section 8

Richmond county is section 8 and it shows.

countyman
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countyman 10/12/10 - 07:46 pm
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The haters won't like this

The haters won't like this article one bit. These people hate to hear anything positive about Augusta.

I thought the TEE Center/Augusta Marriott & Convention Center would sit empty. The groundbreaking started in July and the TEE doesn't open until the spring of 2012.

The TEE center has already attracted a conference 2 1/2 months after the groundbreaking.

countyman
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countyman 10/12/10 - 05:45 pm
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525 people shopping, eating,

525 people shopping, eating, and lodging downtown. The conference is a four day event with a estimated impact of almost $500k. The negative nancies can't spin this one.

WideOpenSpaces
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WideOpenSpaces 10/12/10 - 06:14 pm
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I'm sure the downtown

I'm sure the downtown restaurants and businesses are excited at the prospects of all those people in town once that place opens!

Emerydan
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Emerydan 10/12/10 - 06:25 pm
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But when is that hotel that

But when is that hotel that was promised going to break ground?
I franklly do not have such a problem with the TEE.. I just had a problem with the dishonest way it was handled.. how voters were essentially misled from the outset what the true cost would be..then the price tag more than doubles and and additional $50 million obligation is tacked on to secure Betty beard's vote. Then you had bribes being offered to commissioners to change votes.. then you had threats and deadlines over a proposed hotel that still has yet to break ground nearlyu a year after the TEE center was approved. In the future, just be upfront and honest with the citizens about the true cost of a project.. don't lowball it and then try and double the cost and add on a bunch of additional stuff under the table. If it is such a great project then it should be able to stand on its own merits and it should be an easy sell to voters. But lets also remember that these CVB economic impact projections are often way over exaggerated... see the Heywood Sanders study to understand how this is done. In anycase.. we have over $110 million in public debt tied up in this project so it BETTER be able to produce results.. and it's going to take ALOT more than one conevnetion to pay off that debt.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 10/12/10 - 07:25 pm
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Let's think a minute. The TEE

Let's think a minute. The TEE will open in the spring of 2012. This conference will be in 2013. So far this is the ONLY conference signed.

Hey, don't believe me this will be a tremendous money loser. Read the studies that show these centers simply don't do well. Remember the Texas A & M professor who agreed to come here for free to explain the problems, but the Commission didn't invite him.

The problems with TEE's are not unique to Augusta, it's a nationwide problem with cities trying to outdo each other for limited shows and conventions.

countyman
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countyman 10/12/10 - 07:49 pm
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The building broke ground 2

The building broke ground 2 1/2 months ago. There is a conference booked almost three years in advance.

Imagine the number of conferences who will be announced in the near future. When the Tee Center and the 400 space parking deck(1st level commercial and retail space) construction jumps into high gear. The 8 story Hyatt hotel, 125 space parking deck, and the three story office building is the icing on the cake.

johnston.cliff
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johnston.cliff 10/12/10 - 08:45 pm
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I expect to see the TEE

I expect to see the TEE center do well and I expect down town to develop along the lines laid out by the master plan. That's the whole idea of having a master plan.
Derelicts will be moved to the other side of the Kroc Center and "n'er-do-wells" will be forced beyond East Boundary and Walton Way. Downtown will be allowed to grow.
Of course, none of this will happen until the subsidy situation is handled.

Taylor B
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Taylor B 10/12/10 - 10:29 pm
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Yeah, our cake got iced

Yeah, our cake got iced alright...

humbleopinion
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humbleopinion 10/12/10 - 11:02 pm
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How much of that $429k that

How much of that $429k that is expected to be added to the local economy is already tax dollars? If this is a government group they will be using government issued credit cards with the bill being paid by US, the working men and women of America. I hope that the center attracts PRIVATE groups and associations and brings in "new" money, not just recycled tax dollars.

thewiz0oz
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thewiz0oz 10/13/10 - 03:57 am
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Congratulations to Barry

Congratulations to Barry White and his staff at the CVB -- soon we will start recouping that $12M in annual revenue Augusta has lost due to lack of competitive space -- with completion of the Hyatt hotel (and it will happen) Downtown Augusta will have the making of one of the finest convention and trade centers in the Southeast -- thanks to all of those who have worked very hard for years to make it happen -- and to the critics who have made it interesting -- all are necessary.

omnomnom
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omnomnom 10/13/10 - 12:02 pm
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maaan.. i wrote something

maaan.. i wrote something clever the first time this article was posted. now I can't remember it. D'oh.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 10/13/10 - 12:04 pm
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Hey, Wiz, you previously said

Hey, Wiz, you previously said there was $10 million in business already booked for the TEE (meaning $10 million effect on the economy, I realize.) This appears to be the first booking and it is a year and a half after the opening. Where did you get this idea other things were already booked?

Southern_Patriot
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Southern_Patriot 10/13/10 - 12:19 pm
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somebody had better shakeup

somebody had better shakeup the construction crew if they want it to be completed by spring of 2012 or maybe they're going to put up a Butler Building.

calculator25
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calculator25 10/13/10 - 04:57 pm
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Big deal...they booked a

Big deal...they booked a government conference that has been here before.
Who gets the majority of the projected $429,000....why I suspect it is the Marriott NOT the taxpayers. How many room nights are we talking about and how much will the Marriott charge per night. In addition how much food and beverage will the Marriott sell this group? How much will the group be charged to rent the $40 million TEE Center and WHO WILL COLLECT THE RENTAL FEE????? I suspect it will be the Marriott who will collect and keep the rental fees not the taxpayers of Richmond County.
How and when do the taxpayers see a return on their $40 million investment? This is a false illusion of economic benefit to anyone other than the privately owned Marriott Hotel. They should be very grateful for such a magnanimous gift!

airbud7
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airbud7 10/13/10 - 05:24 pm
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Good point humbleopinion/

Good point humbleopinion/ every dime they spend is coming from taxpayer's I hope they don't spend $429,000

calculator25
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calculator25 10/13/10 - 11:25 pm
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Just want to say "Thanks" to

Just want to say "Thanks" to both Emerydan and Riverman - don't know who you are but you are both very smart and tuned in to what is really going on. We need more intelligent folks like you to remind the readers what kind of deals often go on behind the scenes. The Chronicle and its water bearers want to put a positive spin on this because it greatly benefits their Marriott Hotel. The estimates of the potential economic benefits are grossly overstated and they all have taken great liberties with revenue projections. The Marriott and it's owners have nothing at risk because the city (meaning our taxpayers) is footing the bill and in so doing trying to sell us on a spin job while they put us at risk. If it's such a great project why didn't the Marriott build it? Exactly how will the taxpayers benefit from whatever rental income is generated? Don't answer with the baloney about how much downtown restaurants will benefit - is that worth such a large gift to a private corporation? The corporation that owns the Marriott stands to benefit handsomely and they should have been required to invest more than a token amount in
this project. Everyone seems to want to look the other way but this is really the elephant in the room.

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