published Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Center’s impact rises $4 million

The Chattanooga Convention Center continued to ramp up parts of the Chattanooga economy in early 2011, according to a financial report presented Wednesday.

An above-average fall 2010 and bookings for 2011 combined to generate $22.5 million in lodging, meal and other revenues for the ongoing fiscal year, up from $18.8 million the year before, according to estimates released by the Carter Street Corp., which runs the facility.

Rising gas prices, which normally cause groups to cut back on travel, could help Chattanooga attract more conventions, board members said, because of the city’s central location.

With workers putting finishing touches on the downtown Hampton Inn, originally slated to be complete in April, the city will have 2,200 hotel rooms. The county as a whole will have 6,500.

Forever 21 will hire 200 this year

Specialty retailer Forever 21, which opened in February at Hamilton Place mall, plans to hire over 200 people by the end of the year, officials said. The location is the retailer’s biggest in Tennessee and its only department store-sized store in the state.

“Forever 21 is a terrific addition to our retail mix,” mall manager Dan Wolfe said.

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