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SCHAUMBURG, IL-Nearly 20 years in the works, construction is beginning on a 100,000-sf convention center at the Northwest Tollway and Meacham Road, along with a 500-room Marriott Renaissance hotel. The village broke ground on the $226-million project this week, and expects to have the center operating in 2006.

The village acquired a 45-acre site north of I-90 and east of Meacham Road in 2000 for $13 million. However, it had been in talks with four other suburbs on a joint project more than 10 years before that.

“The new Schaumburg convention center will move the entire regional tourism industry to a higher level, breaking a logjam on meeting size that has inhibited the growth of the Greater Woodfield hospitality industry for more than a decade,” says Woodfield Convention and Visitors Bureau president Tom Rivera. Hotel and convention center are expected to spend more than $200 million a year, generating nearly $13 million in annual state and local taxes.

John Portman & Associates of Atlanta is designing the project, which is being built by Walsh Construction of Chicago.

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