The nation's largest convention center is redefining excellence with fast new Wi-Fi, a thriving rooftop garden and a sleek event center in the works.

WHAT'S NEW

A luminous, 10,000-seat event facility is being built that will greatly expand the McCormick campus. The new structure will host general sessions for large trade shows, and also serve as DePaul University's basketball arena. It's slated for completion in 2017.

The new Marriott Marquis will rise next door to McCormick Place, offering 1,200 additional rooms for convention-goers. A skybridge will link the hotel to McCormick Place West.

The on-site Hyatt Regency McCormick Place hotel is a AAA Four-Diamond property boasting 1,260 guest rooms, a fully renovated 25,000-square-foot conference center and four on-site dining options.

McCormick Place transformed its public spaces, renovating the restrooms, replacing the carpet and brightening the paint building-wide.

The recently opened 23rd Street Café offers healthy, sustainable fare to eat at mod tables or to grab and go from the market using fast-scan checkout.

CONNECTIVITY

McCormick Place upgraded its free-to-attendees Internet and Wi-Fi capabilities. Up to 45,000 users can now connect at once throughout the facility, with speedy results.

THE NEIGHBORHOODS

A burgeoning entertainment district of restaurants, bars and shops is growing around the McCormick campus, anchored by the new event center.

The Chicago Transit Authority's new Cermak-McCormick Place Green Line train station is scheduled to open in spring 2015, offering an easy 'L' ride between the convention center and downtown.

SUSTAINABILITY

The 462-room tower added to the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place earned LEED Gold certification in 2014. It is among the Midwest's first hotels to achieve the designation, thanks to sustainable practices such as regionally sourced construction materials and water and energy efficient design.

The Midwest's largest farm-to-fork rooftop garden sprawls atop McCormick Place West. Planted in partnership with the Chicago Botanic Garden, the soil grows kale, carrots, golden beets, cherry tomatoes, dill, cilantro and other herbs and vegetables for use in the convention center's restaurants. It eventually will yield up to 10,000 pounds of produce annually.

At home in the garden are 30,000 honey bees that pollinate the plants and produce 30 pounds of honey.

McCormick Place is offsetting 100 percent of its energy consumption with alternative wind energy by purchasing Green-e Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), saving an estimated 730 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions over the course of three years.

In 2013, McCormick Place became the world's largest convention center to receive APEX certification for sustainability.

McCormick's SAVOR...Chicago food service company earned Green Seal certification for its environmentally responsible purchasing, operations and management.