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Industry Briefs
SMG To Manage Navy Pier's Festival Hall

Navy Pier, Inc. (NPI) has selected SMG, the global leader in convention, arena and stadium venue management, to manage Festival Hall, the historic Grand Ballroom and meeting space beginning September 1, 2012. With 170,000 sq. ft. 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.

“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,” noted Wes Westley, SMG president and chief executive officer. “SMG has both the experience, drive and history of success to enhance the management and marketing of Festival Hall.”

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 reimagine 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 & CEO of Navy Pier, Inc.

SMG’s seasoned 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 in 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 of strategic business development. “What excites us most about Festival Hall is the multi-purpose, downtown alternative it provides for so many trade shows, 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.”

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