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Tuesday, 28 February 2012 09:52

Amway goes glam in renovating hotel ballroom

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Amway goes glam in renovating hotel ballroom PHOTO: Elijah Brumback
GRAND RAPIDS — In the competition for which hotels have the swankiest, most modern amenities, the Amway Grand Plaza has raised the stakes.

On Feb. 7, the hotel held an opening reception for its newly renovated Ambassador Ballroom. The $2.4 million project, which included the Crown Foyer and west concourse, was overhauled with updated technology and “glamorized” interiors.

“The last time the ballroom was renovated was in ’92,” said Rick Winn, VP and managing director for Amway Hotel Corp. Appealing more to social functions like weddings and conventions was the primary reason for the changes, he said.

“Technology is the number one trend that is driving what we do,” Winn said of ballroom’s updates, which features color-changing LED lighting and improved audio/visual capabilities. Holding a competitive advantage over other meeting and convention spaces and maintaining the image and prestige of the Amway Grand is a constant task, he said.

Rockford Construction Company Inc. was responsible for the remodel and completed the project within two months.

“The biggest part of this job was the pre-construction,” said Ann Zimmer, project manager at Rockford Construction. “A lot of assembly and other work was done off-site.”

Because construction couldn’t take up a lot of space in the hotel, some pieces were put together and brought to the site in series. A catwalk above the ballroom had to be maneuvered around during the installation of several removable ceiling panels that allow additional lighting access.

At one point, the construction was halted briefly when the original plans, which included one large door for the west entrance, had to be redesigned. As the crews were stripping the old walls, an immovable steel support was discovered, so Zimmer and the architects, Concept Design Group of Grand Rapids, redesigned the space for two doors on either side of the support beam.

Apart from the limited timeframe, the repositioning of the doors was the only major difficulty in completing the remodel, Zimmer said.

Other notable features of the ballroom include dark, cherry wood veneer paneling and two intricate chandeliers, which had to be ordered five months in advance and then assembled by hand.

Part of the West Concourse, which used to be open to the restaurant on floor below, was replaced with an extended reception area that Winn said would be used for increased exhibition space for functions and groups.

Amway also chose to work with Gooch Design Studio of Chicago for a custom made carpet that incorporates a floral, Asian-influenced design. The gold-colored carpet juxtaposes rose-colored walls with a honeycomb-like pattern that is reflected by accent lights outlining the edges of the ceiling. A number of round, color-changing LED fixtures hang throughout the ballroom.

At the reception, Winn said he heard from a number of meeting planners who were pleased with the renovations.

Zimmer said she expects to work with Amway again as the hotelier continues to renovate sections of the hotel.

“There is always something that can be done,” Winn said.

Read 2456 times Last modified on Sunday, 12 August 2012 13:11

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