Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

November 04 2013

Are These Convention Centers About to Get Bigger?

By David McMillin

san diego convention center

The meetings industry represents major dollars for destinations that can position themselves as great hosts for tens of thousands of attendees. One of the deciding factors in that competitive battle is the size of a city’s convention center. As cities work to look even more attractive during site visits, here’s a look around the country at three potential convention center expansions.

New Plans in New England

As Boston prepares to host PCMA’s Convening Leaders 2014 at the city’s Hynes Convention Center, city officials are also considering a major expansion of another major conference facility on the south waterfront in Beantown. Earlier this month, the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority filed a proposal to expand the meeting and exhibit space at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center by 60 percent. While many convention center plans can come under public scrutiny, the MCCA’s proposal is particularly noteworthy because it requires no new fees or taxes.

“The legislation is the culmination of a four-year transparent and public campaign aimed at increasing Boston’s and Massachusetts’ share of the meeting and convention industry,” James E. Rooney, executive director, MCCA, says.

SEE ALSO: How Convention Centers Spur Creativity

Dallas Dreams Big

Dallas has managed to catch plenty of attention with its “BIG” advertising campaign, and now, tourism officials are hoping to extend that theme to the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. According to a recent Dallas News report, the Dallas CVB is gearing up to present an expansion proposal to city officials in November. In the article, Ron King, director of convention and event services for the city, suggests that Dallas needs more space to satisfy massive conventions.

“The largest ballroom [in the center] is 20,000 square feet,” King tells Dallas News. “These are the smaller ballrooms that I’ve managed in my career. Much more of that type of space is needed.”

There’s no word yet on an official proposal, but it looks like the expansion could cost an estimated $300 million.

San Diego Set to Supersize

While Dallas and Boston continue to work toward convention center expansions, the big question surrounding an expansion in San Diego was answered in October. The California Coastal Commission approved a $520 million plan that will create 225,000 additional square feet of exhibit space. The financing plan for the project is still under appeal, but officials expect a quick resolution that will help the project break ground in late 2014.

SEE ALSO: Convention Center Freebie Alert

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