The Windy City’s Navy Pier Inc. (NPI) has selected SMG to manage Festival Hall, the historic Grand Ballroom and meeting space beginning Sept. 1.
“Given our Chicago roots, we couldn’t be more pleased than to take on this added role for such an historic destination as Navy Pier,” said Wes Westley, president and CEO, SMG. “SMG has the experience, drive and history of success to enhance the management and marketing of Festival Hall.”
With 170,000 square feet of exhibition space, 38 meeting rooms and banquet space, the facility has long offered a strategic downtown location for trade and consumer shows, special events and banquets. SMG is responsible for the management and marketing of more than 220 public assembly facilities worldwide. The company has a specialized convention center division, including 68 convention and exhibition centers.
“As we look to re-imagine Navy Pier, given their global expertise managing convention centers, exhibition halls and trade centers, SMG has the experience and resources to help see the Pier’s vision forward,” said Marilynn Gardner, president and CEO, Navy Pier.
SMG’s experienced executive team works actively with municipalities, convention bureaus and hospitality partners in offering first class service and fully integrated management and marketing systems. Given its size, the Festival Hall facilities will rank among the top 20 exhibitions in SMG’s portfolio.
“In the convention and trade show sector, Chicago has long held its prominence as the center of the universe for major events,” said Gregg Caren, senior vice president, SMG. “What excites us most about Festival Hall is the multi-purpose, downtown alternative it provides for so many tradeshows, consumer shows, corporate events and competitions. We are looking forward to working with the local team to expand on what has been built up in the 17 years since Festival Hall first debuted.”
A Chicago Landmark since 1916, Navy Pier has evolved from a freight passenger ship docking facility to the top tourist attraction in the Midwest, drawing more than eight million visitors annually.