5 Convention Center Renovations to Get Excited About

Detroit Cobo Center
Detroit’s Cobo Center

Destinations across the country have really taken the “meetings mean business” campaign to heart with the approval of several convention center renovations to open in the coming years. Meeting planners can look forward to new additions, up-to-date technologies and more appealing designs at convention facilities in these five major U.S. cities.

  1. San Diego Convention Center (SDCC). Perhaps one of the most anticipated projects is the $520 million SDCC expansion project, which is scheduled to break ground in late 2014 or early 2015. Once completed, the convention center will have the largest single contiguous exhibit hall on the West Coast. The expansion project will also include the 5-acre Sky Park, a green rooftop plaza that will include a civic performance venue. This new area will be able to host everything from community events to music festivals to public art displays that will attract not only convention goers, but also locals to the Embarcadero.
  2. Cobo Center. Detroit’s Cobo Center is currently on the last leg of its $279 million, three-phase renovation project that started in 2010. Phase 3, the largest of the three, is scheduled for completion in 2015. The facility’s 40,000-sf ballroom and a 3-story atrium space was completed last year. Construction on the south side, which features a glass exterior wall overlooking the Detroit River, and the east façade, featuring two high-tech video walls, is still underway.
  3. Greater Columbus Convention Center. Plans are underway for a $125 million renovation of the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Ohio. The 2-year project would include a complete renovation of the building’s interior, as well as about a 36,000-sf expansion of exhibit space and a total redesign of the north end of the story. It would create a modern, two-story façade that would echo the contemporary design of the new Downtown Hilton Hotel.
  4. Orange County Convention Center (OCCC). Already the No. 1 meeting’s destination, the OCCC in Orlando continues to make meeting waves with a $55 million upgrade. Scheduled for completion in August 2015, the renovation will include building a new ballroom, meeting rooms and board rooms as well as renovating the existing concourse area. The center already completed more than $34 million worth of work, including restroom renovations and technological upgrades, in the past year.
  5. Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC). While not as big as the others, the LACC is undergoing a $10 million renovation that includes a complete remodel of the 299-seat theater and upgraded audiovisual capabilities that will accommodate newer technologies. Other highlights include an energy-efficient, solar-ready cool roof on the South and Concourse halls, as well as new carpet throughout the center. Plus, new services such as the Taste of L.A. signature food and beverage experience and locally brewed Groundwork Coffee Company will also be available.“The planned changes inside the convention center complement the changes taking place outside the center, including new hotels, restaurants, shopping and cultural offerings throughout Downtown L.A.,” says Ernest Wooden Jr., president and CEO of the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board. “Every aspect of downtown Los Angeles is on the move and it’s fueling L.A.’s surging popularity as a meetings and conventions destination.”