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Collinsville’s Gateway Conference Center & Adjacent Doubletree Hotel

November 22, 2010 Accessibility, Metro East, Planning & Design, Walkability 12 Comments

Where do you look to plan an annual conference in the St. Louis region where you will have large & small meeting rooms plus hotel space for 2,000+ attendees.  If your budget is large you go to America’s Center in downtown St. Louis.  But if your budget isn’t so big you go to the Gateway Conference Center in Collinsville IL (aerial).

“Most of Collinsville’s lodging is within walking distance of the convention center.”

That seems very convenient!

The Gateway Convention Center is located adjacent to the Doubletree Collinsville/St. Louis and is an ideal partner for your larger meetings and tradeshows. Gateway Center offers 50,000 square feet of flexible, ground-level space that is sure to suit all your event needsThe convention center is surrounded by more than 40 restaurants and several visitor-friendly attractions. Lambert St. Louis International Airport is a short 30 minute drive away.

Together with Doubletree Collinsville/St. Louis, Gateway Center is “The Great Way to Gather” in the St. Louis MO metropolitan area for large events!

Wow, perfect! Convention center with adjacent hotel and others within walking distance.  Sounds perfect, right? Well almost…

ABOVE: Stairs over drainage ditch from Doubletree to Gateway Center (see in background)

If your conference has persons with mobility issues these stairs are a major obstacle. The problem is a flood control channel owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

ABOVE: Flood control ditch between the Doubletree (left) and Gateway Center (right)

The Doubletree is adjacent to the Gateway Center  and it has the small meeting rooms the other hotels in the area lack but the stairs are a major barrier when 100 or so of your attendees use mobility scooters, wheelchairs or just push baby strollers.

ABOVE: Stairs over drainage ditch from the Gateway Center to the Doubletree (see in background)

Part Two of this post will be published next week on the 29th.  That post will look at the walkability & accessibility of the Eastport Plaza area where Collinsville’s Gateway Center is located.  Pushing carts of convention materials from the main hotel to the center is also impossible.  The solution is a “switchback ramp” on each side of the levee. The Doubletree Hotel has new ownership and recently received a $12 million dollar makeover inside & out.

ABOVE: New concrete work around the Doubletree, but no connection to public sidewalk or ramp to Gateway Center
ABOVE: New concrete work around the Doubletree, but no connection to public sidewalk or ramp to Gateway Center

The hotel was built in 1982, construction on the Gateway Center started six years later. In 2007 the hotel, then a Holiday Inn, made the headlines.  This article from July 3, 2008 explains:

“The state auctioned off the hotel Thursday. St. Louis-based Lodging Hospitality Management, which owns 16 hotels in the St. Louis area, submitted the highest bid of six that were submitted, according to [Illinois State Treasurer Alexi] Giannoulias.

Giannoulias said in a statement that installing new owners will put an end to a 25-year “financial debacle.” Giannoulias said former owners B.C. Gitcho and Gary Fears received “an outrageously favorable $13.4 million state-backed loan” and quickly fell behind on payments enough that the outstanding principal and interest totaled $32.2 million.”

What I don’t yet know is when the steps and bridge were built over the flood control ditch.  Was the costs shared by the hotel and Collinsville? Did bonds for the Gateway Center finance the steps & bridge to the existing hotel?  I will keep digging.

In the meantime, next week I will post a look at the area where the Gateway Center is located, called Eastport Plaza.

– Steve Patterson


Currently there are "12 comments" on this Article:

  1. Scott Jones618 says:

    I live in Collinsville and it isn't walkable–especially the developments along Bluff Rd (157). Instead of sidewalks you have ditches. Forget about walking from your hotel by the convention center to one of the many chain restaurants on Bluff Rd. Forget about walking from the neighborhood on the bluff down to the new shopping area, there are no sidewalks or crosswalks in the older part but they magically appear on newer developments.

  2. Lhigh says:

    I had my wedding reception at the Convention Center. It was perfect for guests because of the extremely close (and awesome) proximity to the reception. Everyone loved the new bar at the DoubleTree and their suites are very nice.

  3. THE MINGE says:

    Wheelchair posts are bad enough…now we have to read about wheelchair posts in other tiny towns??? Boring!

    • You will appreciate my efforts when you are disabled.

    • JZ71 says:

      Minge, no one is forcing you to either read or comment. Steve has a unique perspective and devotes an amazing amount of effort to this blog. I obviously don't always agree with him, but I at least try to keep the discussion civil . . .

      • Alfred Fickensher says:

        Yeah JZ, if this were an e-mail list I'd hafta say Minge is “DELETE-DISABLED” but since it's a blog where every reader comes in of his own free-will, I might recall the old SNL Church Lady skit where she was berating “Jimmy Swaggart” for meeting a whore at a motel. The CL kept whining at Jimmy, “Who made you go there? Just who made you turn into that parking lot?” etc etc

        So anyway Minge, you choose to come here, I guess you choose to read what's here.

        • THE MINGE says:

          For goodness sake people! I like the site, I'm just offering criticism as it gets repetitive after awhile! WHEELCHAIR POSTS!!!!!

          • Sebben says:

            Yes, Steve posts a lot about accessibility, but as an able-bodied person, it's not something I often think of and it's nice to hear Steve's thoughts about the issue. Recently (over labor day I think), Steve stayed at a Holiday Inn Express in St. Robert, MO that I worked on before I was laid off. He liked the accessible rooms but had criticism over the ramps in the parking lot. At the time (this was 2008 when I drew the construction documents), something like that never occurred to me. As far as I was concerned, a 1:12 ramp, no matter the design, was adequate enough. But, as I've read this blog over the years, I'd like to think that I've become more sensitive to what to most of us might be considered small details. I only hope that when I return to work in the architectural field that I will pay more attention to things like this.

          • JZ71 says:

            Two points. One, I may be old school, but my mom always said, if you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all. If I can't add anything significant to the discussion, I don't post. In this case, I'm not familiar with the area, it's not an area I really care much about, and the odds of changing anything are pretty slim, so I saw no point in a) trying to figure out whether the work was done before or after the ADA took effect, and/or b) who should be held responsible. It's not great, but it's sure not unusual.

            And two, Steve is both accessible offline and, by default, the dictator and the decider of what does or does not get discussed on this site. I don't go to MomsLikeMe and question why they're always talking about kids. It doesn't interest me, so I stay away. The place to question the frequency of Steve's “WHEELCHAIR POSTS!!!!!” is either through a personal email discussion with him or by establishing and growing a competing blog that does a better job than Steve does here.

            Unfortunately, given the current state of both the economy and politics, there's not much new construction to talk about, so we're left talking about past mistakes. And, from the outside, coming up with 350+ topics to talk about every year would seem to be fairly easy. Trust me, it ain't! I've written a few pieces, and they take hours, not minutes, to put together. To use a well-worn baseball analogy, Steve's not going to hit it out of the park every day, so I have to respect the effort that goes into every piece!

          • Thanks. I believe that by focusing on past mistakes our future contraction will hopefully not repeat these same mistakes. I'm going to get this crossing accessible. It may take years but I've got the time and persistence to stay on it.

  4. Your budget isn’t big? Go to the Gateway Conference Center in Collinsville IL.


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