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Revitalizing Chicago's Hospitality Scene with Major Political Event

In a significant development for Chicago's hospitality industry, two key hotels within the McCormick Place convention center complex have been selected to host staff and media for the Democratic National Convention. This event is poised to significantly aid the recovery of the city's hotel sector post-COVID-19 pandemic.

The convention, scheduled for August 19 to 22, will see the Democratic National Convention Committee utilizing the municipally owned Hyatt Regency McCormick Place and Marriott Marquis Chicago. These hotels, boasting a combined capacity of 2,463 rooms, will be the hub of activities, with President Joe Biden expected to be renominated.

McCormick Place, North America’s largest convention center, and the United Center arena, home to the NBA's Chicago Bulls and NHL's Chicago Blackhawks, are set to host the events.

This summer's DNC is anticipated to bring in substantial revenue for Chicago's hotels, potentially marking the best August performance in over a decade, as per CoStar's analysis.

A Catalyst for Chicago's Hotel Industry Revival

"The DNC's decision to collaborate with these premier hotels, powered by union labor, is a source of pride for us," said DNCC Executive Director Alex Hornbrook. "We are excited to make McCormick Place our base for the convention week."

The convention is expected to draw around 7,000 delegates and 50,000 visitors, offering a much-needed boost to Chicago's hotel market, which has been recovering at a slower pace compared to other cities. Chicago's reliance on large-scale events at McCormick Place has been a significant factor in its hospitality sector's recovery trajectory.

The Marriott Marquis Chicago, a 41-story hotel at 2121 S. Prairie Ave., has 1,205 rooms, while the 33-story Hyatt Regency McCormick Place at 2233 S. Martin Luther King Drive boasts 1,258 rooms.

"We are thrilled to have our campus hotels as the DNC's headquarters for 2024," expressed Larita Clark, CEO of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority. "Our 23 union partners and nearly 3,000 campus employees are ready to welcome the DNC and create an unforgettable event at McCormick Place."

The Republican National Convention is slated for Milwaukee from July 15 to 18, making the Midwest a focal point for political conventions this year.

A Historical Perspective on Chicago's Political Conventions

2024's DNC will be Chicago's 26th major political-nominating event but marks the first since President Bill Clinton's renomination in 1996.

Chicago's rich history of political conventions includes Abraham Lincoln's nomination in 1860 at the Wigwam, a facility that no longer exists. The 1968 DNC, remembered for the emotional turmoil following the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, saw Vice President Hubert Humphrey's nomination amid protests and police confrontations.

The eventful week, which led to the "Chicago Seven" trial, concluded with Humphrey losing the presidential race to Richard Nixon. The convention site, the International Amphitheatre, was later demolished in 1999.

Chicago has also been the stage for the nominations of presidents like Ulysses Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, William Taft, Franklin Roosevelt, and Dwight Eisenhower, contributing to its significant political legacy.

As Chicago prepares to host the DNC, the city’s hospitality market is on the cusp of a significant revival, with these historical hotels playing

a pivotal role. The Marriott Marquis Chicago and the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, with their combined capacity and strategic location, are perfectly poised to accommodate the influx of delegates and media personnel. This event not only promises to be a key milestone in Chicago’s political history but also a vital catalyst for rejuvenating its hospitality industry.

Drawing thousands to the heart of the city, the Democratic National Convention is more than just a political gathering; it's a beacon of revival for Chicago's tourism and hospitality sectors. The selection of these hotels as headquarters underscores their importance in the city’s landscape and their capacity to handle events of such magnitude.

With the DNC set to take place in the midst of summer, Chicago is gearing up for an event that promises to leave an indelible mark on its cultural and economic fabric. The city, renowned for its rich political history and vibrant hospitality scene, is ready to showcase its resilience and capacity to host events of international significance.

The 2024 Democratic National Convention in Chicago is not just about politics; it's a story of recovery, resilience, and the enduring spirit of a city that continues to play a central role in shaping the nation's history. As the Marriott Marquis Chicago and Hyatt Regency McCormick Place prepare to host this landmark event, they stand as symbols of Chicago’s enduring allure and its ability to rise, time and again, as a pivotal city on the global stage.

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