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Kalahari Resorts invests $22 million in Ohio meetings venue

Kalahari Resort 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–Sandusky 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,” said Todd Nelson, president and owner, Kalahari Resorts. “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 into the new convention space to include state-of-the-art audio visual, video conferencing options, high-end acoustical sound systems, HD-quality projectors and formatted screens, advanced lighting control systems and digital signage.

“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 functional space needs,” said Maris Brenner, director of sales, Kalahari Resort in Sandusky. “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.”

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,” said Patrick Shenigo, Erie County Commissioner. “We’re fortunate to have this level of private investment in our community.”

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