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Business club is ready for Games

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Private dining with a bar, a stage for live entertainment and an Internet cafe to check your e-mail.

Welcome to the Century Club, a 10,000-square-foot pad where out-of-state business executives will party, network and perhaps gain their first impressions of Utah's business environment during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.

Located at the center of The Gateway shopping district, the Century Club was envisioned by the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce as a way to offer its members a service to build business during the Olympics and as a means to showcase Utah's high-tech corridor, friendly people and wide-open spaces, according to Michael De Groote, a spokesman for the chamber.

"We want this to be a business club," said Jackie Sexton, a chamber spokeswoman. "We want to introduce Utah's businesses to the world."

The space, provided by The Boyer Co., was roughly a $1 million project, according to Steve Bowers, vice president of Interior Construction Specialists Inc.

However, the actual out-of-pocket costs were probably only a tenth of that amount, said Alan Rindlesbacher, a spokesman for Layton Construction. That's because most of the club's finished work and furnishings were provided by local vendors and subcontractors, donating thousands of hours of time.

Some of those donors include Broadcast International, which provided all the cabling and equipment for the Internet cafe; VCBO Architecture, designers of the club; and Contract Furniture Gallery and Kimball, offering the furniture.

"It took months and months of planning, but only 60 days to put together," Bowers said.

On Feb. 8, the club will officially open with a "Welcome the World" party, where chamber members and their guests can watch the Olympic opening ceremonies on two giant-screen televisions.

Following the opening day, only credentialed guests will be accommodated at the club at a cost of $150 a person per day.

Approximately 300 volunteers will be on hand to staff the hospitality center seven days a week, from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., during the Games.

And up to 350 guests are expected each night, said Larry Mankin, president of the Salt Lake Chamber, adding that 2,500 people are already signed up.

Following the Olympics, the club's interior will be torn out, and it will become part of the future home of the Children's Museum.

"This gives businesses an opportunity to participate in the heart of the Olympics," Bowers said.

E-mail: danderton@desnews.com