Westin officially opens Tarpon Point Ballroom
In a city of nearly 180,000 people, the one thing Cape Coral desperately needed was a place to hold conventions, business meetings, wedding or anniversary parties and much more.
On Friday, city dignitaries, business leaders and hotel staff were at the Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village to officially open the Tarpon Point Ballroom, a $15 million facility the city and hotel owners hope will be a game changer for attracting more people to the area.
Stefanie Eakin, marketing and sales manager at the Westin, said it was an exciting day for everyone involved, for the city can now host events it did not have the capacity to before.
“We really saw there was a huge need for our destination. We were losing business in the area to the larger events we could not accommodate,” Eakin said. “This was the vision to be able to expand that. Now, anything you want to have here you can have. We even have doors big enough to hold a car show.”
The 30,000-square-foot facility is expected to hold up to 1,400 people to accommodate as many as six different events simultaneously. It took about 15 months to build, which was shown in a time lapse video to people entering the facility.
Mayor Joe Coviello was also excited to see how the convention center will be a strong economic driver for the city.
“When people come, they will see a vibrant city, 400 miles of canals, lots of things to do. This will get the word out about how great a place Cape Coral is,” Coviello said. “I can see people using this locally and across the country for conventions. When they filter out into the city, it will help the economy.”
Dana Brunett, Cape Coral’s economic development director, said the facility will help put the city on the map for business people. It will also bring an economic impact of up to $30 million annually, as well as bring in possibly hundreds of new jobs.
“It gives area organizations another place to go for meetings, and that’s always important,” Brunett said. “Many times, people travel with families. They’re eating, spending money and staying at hotels. All the things that add to our economy. We’re adding another cog to our tourism economy.”
The event featured comments from Westin general manager Michael Tighe, owners Chris Freeman and Brad Hasselwander, Coviello and Tamara Pigott, executive director of the Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau.
Following the ribbon cutting, people had the opportunity to tour the new building, which got rave reviews from the powers that be.
“It’s beautiful. What an amazing asset to not just Cape Coral but Southwest Florida. The Cape has been challenged for meeting space,” Pigott said. “The Westin is one of the best hotels in the area. Now, to be able to sell this for meetings as well as leisure, I see a lot of businesses being introduced to Cape Coral.”
“The opportunity to bring in conferences from outside the area is going to do wonders for the city,” said Donna Germain, president of the Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce. “It will allow the chamber to expand our events.”