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Conference center exceeds expectations

The Kitsap Conference Center at the Bremerton Harborside surpassed its economic projections for 2004 and expectations for 2005 are just as high.

Since its opening in July to the end of 2004, the conference center generated revenues of $540,001 exceeding its projections by 80 percent. In addition, 18,375 guests visited the conference center and the Hampton Inn benefitted from the conference center with 390 actual hotel nights since its opening in October.

This year, the conference center expects to have more than 34,000 guests, who should generate more than 3,700 actual hotel nights and have an estimated economic impact of more than $1.8 million.

“I am extremely proud of our team and I think we’ve done a good job of hiring the right people,” said Erik Ruud, the conference center’s general manager. “We wrapped up the year with a 95 percent exceptional rating.”

In addition to the quality of service, Ruud said the center’s location has played an instrumental role in its success.

“We have a wonderful location on the waterfront and we’re equal distance from the north and south ends of the county,” he said.

The center’s location has generated tremendous interest from King County, but at the same time, it enjoys a great relationship with the shipyard, he said.

The shipyard and defense contractors have been frequent guests of the conference center including this week’s workshop with the USS John C. Stennis. The addition of the Hampton Inn has allowed the conference center to expand its marketing base, he said.

City financial services director Laura Lyon said the report from the conference center was good news for the city.

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