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Tornado a talking point for Atlanta's Final Four bid
Hospitality officials say they can showcase how well the city handled crisis

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - April 3, 2008 - by Leon Stafford


Atlanta hospitality leaders will be in San Antonio on Friday for the NCAA's Men's Final Four weekend and at least one of them is banking on being asked about last month's tornado in downtown Atlanta.

Ten cities, including Atlanta, the site of last year's Final Four, are bidding to host the event between 2012 and 2016.

The visit also will give Atlanta a chance to show NCAA officials what progress has been made since they were last in Atlanta, said Paul Breslin, managing partner at Panther Hospitality, an Atlanta consulting firm.

Boutique hotels like the Ellis, the new name of the old Winecoff at the corner of Ellis and Peachtree streets, and W Midtown have opened. Others on the way include a W and Hotel Indigo downtown, and a proposed Hard Rock Hotel near the Georgia Aquarium.

Restaurants, too, are opening, including Maxim Prime at the Glenn Hotel, Sear at the Marriott Marquis and Dantanna's and Taco Mac at CNN Center and Philips Arena, respectively.

"These are some things they have been telling us that they wanted," Breslin said. "Now we have delivered."