Expansion Announcement from Kalahari Resort!

January 10, 2011

We’ve received the following expansion announcement from Kalahari Resort and wanted to share the information!

Kalahari Resort Invests $22 Million in Meetings Venue to Accommodate Larger Groups/Offer One-of-a-Kind Convention Center in the Region

Kalahari Resort today officially announced it will break ground this March on a $22 million expansion that will more than double the size of its convention center, making Kalahari Resort-Ohio the only under-one-roof complex in the Midwest to feature a convention center and hotel of this scope. Having filled a void in the region since opening its 95,000-square-foot convention center in 2006, Kalahari Resort plans to significantly increase its meeting capacity from 2,200 to 5,200 attendees.

The 120,000-square-foot addition, which will bring Kalahari’s convention center total square footage to 215,000, will include a 38,000-square-foot grand ballroom /expo center, a 12,000-square-foot junior ballroom, 14 meeting rooms, a 4,000-square-foot themed outdoor plaza connected to an indoor ballroom and 30,000 square feet of pre-function space.

“We pride ourselves in striking the right balance of features for convention guests and leisure travelers to ensure that each has a top-notch, yet very different experience,” says Todd Nelson, president and owner of Kalahari Resorts who notes that, with this addition, the resort will have added more than $175 million in expansions since opening in 2005. “This expansion further demonstrates our commitment to building a premier meeting and convention venue in Northeast Ohio.”

The distinctive meetings philosophy, for which Kalahari Resort is known, will be carried over in to the new convention space to include state-of-the-art audio visual, such as interactive whiteboards, video conferencing options, high-end acoustical sound systems, HD-quality projectors and formatted screens, advanced lighting control systems and digital signage. Meeting planners will also appreciate smart design elements including electronically lockable built-in bars and registration areas as well as added warming kitchens in key areas to enhance food and beverage service options.

Kalahari’s attention to detail flows through to its décor with its use of earthy colors that are proven to enhance the ability to focus and aid in productivity. Meeting and convention attendees will also be greeted by authentic African artwork, décor and furnishings that have been hand-selected by Kalahari staff in Africa, as well as one-of-a-kind fixtures designed by the resort’s private theme shop.

“Many groups we’ve hosted have been surprised to discover the level of our meetings and event offerings. Although groups want to bring larger statewide or national conventions to us, in the past we were able to accommodate their guest room needs, but we couldn’t accommodate their function space needs,” says Maris Brenner, director of sales for Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio. “We’re excited to open new doors for Kalahari Resort and the surrounding community with our added meeting space which will draw significantly more attendees.”

The authentically African themed resort has generated $27.4 million in taxes and fees for the public sector from 2005 to 2009 thanks to its wide array of offerings that include America’s largest indoor waterpark, outdoor waterpark and adventure park, restaurants, shops and Spa Kalahari. Named business of the year by the Erie County Chamber of Commerce in 2010, Kalahari Resort, the second largest employer in the area with 1,200 employees, will add 141 full-time jobs and 98 one-time construction jobs and as part of its expansion.

“We support this expansion and are excited to see Kalahari Resort continue to grow and bring added visitors to the area, thus spurring economic growth and adding jobs in Erie County,” says Erie County Commissioner Patrick Shenigo. “We’re fortunate to have this level of private investment in our community.”

Kalahari Resort is committed to working with Ohio-based contractors and sub-contractors and will invite them to submit bids through its construction manager, Kraemer Brothers of Plain, Wis. The convention center expansion is expected to open December 2011.

About Kalahari Resort and Convention Center
Kalahari Resort-Sandusky, located on Highway 250 just north of the I-80 Ohio Turnpike off exit 118, is an under-one-roof destination hotel and convention center complex already home to 884 guest rooms and suites, a 95,000-square-foot convention center, the full-service Spa Kalahari, unique retail shops, the Safari Outdoor Adventure and Animal Park, a wide variety of dining and entertainment options, a fully-equipped fitness center and business center and the largest indoor waterpark in the U.S. To contact the Group Sales office, call (877) 647-6847 or email OHgroups@KalahariResorts.com. In addition to its Ohio location, Kalahari Resorts has a convention center and resort in Wisconsin Dells, Wis. For room reservations and guest information, call (877) 525-2427 or visit www.KalahariResorts.com. To review Kalahari Resort’s electronic press kit, go to www.kalahariresortsgobig.com.

For more information, contact:
Shannon McCarthy, (952) 401-0125 x2

Tagged: convention center, Sandusky, expansion, lake erie shores & islands, ohio, Indoor Waterpark, Kalahari Resort