by Andrea Doyle | June 05, 2017
From the spectacular peaks of the Adirondacks to quaint downtowns and the more than 100 wineries that dot the Finger Lakes, New York State offers a wealth of opportunities for groups. Stunning natural landscapes abound in the rolling hills of Saratoga, Albany, and Cooperstown, and in wilderness enclaves including the six-million-acre Adirondack Park.

But there are plenty of man-made wonders in the region as well. Albany has a new state-of-the-art convention center, the Albany Capital Center (ACC), that opened March 1 in downtown, with 90 booked events through 2021 that will bring the region an estimated $26.5 million in spending. The $78.5 million convention center is just steps from the State Capitol.

"This new convention center is key to the continued economic development of this area and will play a pivotal role in drawing events and visitors from around the country," said New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo when he announced the opening in March. "This modern convention facility will help ensure that the capital region remains competitive for years to come, while also having a significant, positive impact on the community."

SMG, the manager of the ACC, has booked 62 events for 2017 that will span 101 days of activities. This year's gatherings will also result in 3,750 hotel room nights, of which more than 3,200 are new business for Albany. An additional 28 events have already been booked through 2021.

"After years in the making, the entire Albany Convention Center Authority team applauds Governor Cuomo for having the foresight to build this economic generator," says Gavin Donohue, chairman of the Albany Convention Center Authority.

With nearly 160,000 square feet of combined meeting and event space, the Capital Complex will be the largest meeting space in upstate New York. The Complex comprises the Empire State Plaza Convention Center, operated by the New York State Office of General Services; The Egg, a performing arts center; the new Albany Capital Center; and the Times Union Center arena.

The Albany Capital Center features full-service convention and meeting spaces on two levels that consists of 10,000 square feet of fully divisible meeting space and a 3,000-square-foot full-service catering kitchen on the first level. On the second level, it offers a 22,500-square-foot ballroom/convention space that can be configured to create separate 15,000-square-foot and 10,000-square-foot areas.

Since 1797, Albany has been the state capital of New York, and artist Dahl Taylor captures its spirit inside the main lobby of the ACC in a mural with an emphasis on industry, culture and arts, history, natural beauty, and transportation. He has also created two additional panels that chart the growth of Albany from a small riverside settlement to a thriving state capital.

"Dahl Taylor has given us a wonderful gift," says Doug McClaine, ACC's general manager. "We truly believe we've created one of the most impressive venues in upstate New York, and this mural really adds to the overall ambience once you step through our doors, creating a great impression from the start."

In addition, the Albany County Convention & Visitors Bureau has worked with ACC and web design firm Spiral Design to create an interactive website to accompany the murals.

"We hope to inspire visitors to explore all this region has to offer: natural beauty, a vibrant arts scene, and a history that spans four centuries," says Michele Vennard, president and CEO of Albany County Convention & Visitors Bureau.