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Thread: Convention centers

  1. #1
         
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    Convention centers

    Hi all. I have two questions..

    What are your thoughts on Government run/funded Convention Centers? And if you know of a city that has built its own convention center, how is it doing.. financially?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Milwaukee's Wisconsin Center was created by state legislative act. It's board has authority to tax hotels and rental cars, etc in order to avoid local subsidy. It is successful, and an asset to the community, generating millions per year for the local economy.

  3. #3
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    The Tyson Event Center in Sioux City is city owned, but obviously they had some help with the costs. It is too new to judge success as of yet.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
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  4. #4
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Erieite
    Hi all. I have two questions..

    What are your thoughts on Government run/funded Convention Centers? And if you know of a city that has built its own convention center, how is it doing.. financially?
    Peoria, IL has one and it's beneficial to this small city. It was bonded and the bonds were paid off over 20 years through a 5% hotel motel tax and 2% food and beverage tax.

    For the last 4 years it has been operating with a surplus. This performance has given the civic center authority permission to expand the exhibition space, remodel the interior and begin the long range assessment of including a hotel (the hotel will be a big mistake IMO).
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I was working on conference center project in my past job, and am working on one again in this job. The first was an unusual partnership between the economic development authority, which would own the building, and another governmental (educational) agency which would lease it and make the meeting facilities available to others. The current one may be run by the convention and visitors bureau, or may be a sort of public-private partnership, or maybe something entirely different. In a way, it doesn't really matter who runs it. Success will depend on having a market and designing the conference center to meet that market. The most common problem is that cities over-build the product because they think they need to have a larger facility.

    Oh, it also helps when you can build the conference center with some truly unique feature. Think of Madison, Wisconsin (design by Frank Lloyd Wright, Lake Monona and the Capitol), Disney (great place to bring the family along), or the Ahwahnee (in Yosemite).
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  6. #6
    Suspended Bad Email Address teshadoh's avatar
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    If I may chirp in as well - a convention center that doesn't clash with the surrounding area would be beneficial for the city as well. Atlanta's Georgia World Congress Center & Merchandise Mart, makes a minimal impact on downtown due to it's inward thinking fortress style design. They are horridly ugly buildings without any traditional entrances - their designs are brutalist.

    Maybe I'm daydreaming about San Diego (because I already wrote about the city this morning) but it's convention center is both aesthetically interesting (influenced by the nearby bay) & the entrances direct people to downtown.

  7. #7
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    Salt Lake City's convention center was initially funded by the city and the county. It has been expanded three times in 10 years, and is currently in the planning stages for its fourth expansion. This stage will also be funded by the city, county, and the state legislature. It is widely successful and brings in huge conventions (20,000 + attendees) that adds millions of dollars to the local economy. It is called the Salt Palace Convention Center.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Not sure if Toledo's Convention Centre (spelling is correct, ehh) is doing OK or not. I did some web searching and found myself in real-slow sites run by the local authority and not very informative.

    (Perhaps "Cat" can help.....)

    I have been in the centre a few times. It seems small, even for a burg the size of Toledo. There has been some talk about building a basketball-type venue, perhaps seating about 12,000 to 15,000, near the centre. The talk sometimes includes doing this in conjunction with the University of Toledo.

    U of T's basketball facility, Savage Hall, is not real old but it was poorly designed, aka known as "....we need skyboxes for the rich folks.....". It is located on campus, which is a few miles from downtown and the convention centre area.

    Locals seem to think that this combination of convention centre, basketball palace, and the new Toledo Mud Hen baseball stadium (across the street) would allow T-Town to step to a higher level in attracting conventions, concerts, basketball tourneys, and etc.

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  9. #9
    Great article comparing a similiar attempt in Denver to what Detroit is evaluating.


    http://www.detnews.com/2004/metro/0401/14/a01-35454.htm

  10. #10
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    A lot going for it....

    Quote Originally posted by ken48170
    Great article comparing a similiar attempt in Denver to what Detroit is evaluating.


    http://www.detnews.com/2004/metro/0401/14/a01-35454.htm
    The Denver facility has the central location and a lot of positive activity around it and regional attraction that Detroit will NEVER come close to (not intended to piss off my Michigan friends at all) I just don't see Detroit having as many attractions. Skiing and mountains nearby does help a little. Detroit needs to do their own thing and make it work better to attract the big conventions. I wouldn't suggest using any city as a template, you are a unique City with special concerns....Detroit does have the advantage of being closer to the east coast and does have an airport that supports low cost carriers....
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    DNC in Boston

    one of the major issues (old news now) was a brand spanking new public facillity to replace the others....

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
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    Greensboro NC built, owns and operates one and it loses money like a sieve every year.
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

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  13. #13

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    Key to making these convention centers work is ample hotel space. Here in Milwaukee, our first class convention center, the Midwest Airlines center, has been able to draw in some big-name conventions. For instance, NAACP and NRA will be holding their conventions here this summer (interesting combination). The Midwest Center has been a wonderful boost for downtown, but it has lost out on many big conventions due to the lack of adequate hotel space downtown. There is at least one hotel in the pipeline across the street from the convention center, but many hotels that were on the drawing board were shelved after the collapse of the travel industry after September 11, 2001. The industry is really only now coming out of that 9/11 slump.

    The convention center remains half finished, only the first phase of a two phase plan. With some more hotels, and an overal rise in conventions nationally as the economy improves, hopefully Midwest can enter the upper echelon of conventioneering, complete the second phase, and compete with the big boys.

  14. #14
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    One thing to remember about convention centers is that they need to be occupied a significant amount of time each year to break even. This is where selection of projects in a CIP becomes important since duplication of facilities should be one of the deciding criteria. Remember, there only so many conventions to go around.

    That being said, most convention centers probably are money-losers. I think the San Antonio Convention Center is pretty successful because of its variety of venues, etc. The Alamodome functions as an off-shoot of the convention center (I think it is managed by the convention center), which helps in attracting things. I'm a little surprised that they haven't hosted one of the "big ones" like the Walmart convention that has like 35,000 people attending. There aren't many convention centers with that kind of capacity. You'll get a taste of it with the 2006 APA Conference.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

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  15. #15

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    I just thought of another good example -- the Monona Terrace in Madison. Built a few years ago and based on a Frank Lloyd Wright design, the center is owned by the City, but opertated by a private company contracted to the city, I beleive.

    The Monona Terrace mostly hosts statewide conventions, and also serves as a community center for private receptions, dinners, etc. A huge source of pride for Madisonians, but I don't know how it's doing financially, nor what direct impacts it's had on Downtown Madison.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian the north omaha star's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by PlannerGirl
    Greensboro NC built, owns and operates one and it loses money like a sieve every year.
    Baltimore is losing money every year as well. The City expanded the convention center about 7 or 8 years ago. Baltimore just can't compete with DC, Philly and NYC for conventions because of the lack of hotel rooms.
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  17. #17

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    Charlotte built a new publicly funded convention center in 1994. It lost money every year until 2003 party because of no large convention hotel. The Westin Charlotte opened in 2004 with 760 rooms (next door) and has helped. With the new hotel, the city has finally gotten some big conventions. The National Baptist Association brought nearly 50,000 folks to town (and caused a traffic nightmare for all who work and live uptown) and the AIA held its national convention here with about 10,000 in attendance shortly thereafter.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Detroit is looking to expand its convention facilities. The current facility is jammed for the annual Auto Show, with temory extra floors being built inside the exhibit just to handle all of the crowds. Word on the street says the place will be privatized, and managed by one of the casinos who will place gaming in the place as an extra revenue generator. Great, now I'll have 4 giant casinos within walking distance of my office (sarcasm).

    http://www.theoaklandpress.com/stori...50114024.shtml

  19. #19
    Here is something I did up today, on the topic, enjoy.

    http://www.archiseek.com/content/sho...ed=1#post30721

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