Vote Set for Expansion of Indiana Convention Center

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The Indiana Senate Appropriations Committee will vote this Thursday on whether to use existing taxes to expand the Indiana Convention Center.

Senate Bill 7, by Sen. Ryan Mishler, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, would raise between $8 million and $8.5 million annually in taxes for the Marion County Capital Improvement Board starting in 2022 and running through 2041. Following the Committee vote, the bill would then go to the full Senate.

With passage of the bill, the Indiana Convention Center would have funds for a 300,000-sf expansion on Pan Am Plaza, including a 50,000-sf ballroom, which would be one of the largest in the country. The convention district development also includes 30,000 sf of meeting rooms, and 40,000 sf of pre-function space.

Plans are also in the works by Kite Realty Group to build two Hilton-brand hotels adding a 38-story tower and 1,400 new hotel rooms, according to the Indy Star. A covered walkway over Capitol Avenue would connect that space to the main convention center and would offer an additional 9,200 square feet of indoor/outdoor function space.

Visit Indy, the Indianapolis CVB, poses that the new convention and hotel space would allow the city to retain $287.7 million in annual convention business and be attractive to more than 200 other groups that have considered bringing meetings to the city but need more room than is currently available.

“A feasibility study showed significant demand to again expand the Indiana Convention Center and add 1,400 Hilton-branded hotel rooms connecting into the center,” said Chris Gahl, senior vice president of Visit Indy.  “This game-changing expansion will bring the total rooms connecting into the center to more than 6,100; that’s more than any city in the nation.”

The Indiana Convention Center’s last expansion in January 2011 was a $275 million upgrade that doubled its size to 1.2 million square feet.

Passage of Senate Bill 7 would also keep the NBA’s Indiana Pacers in town at least another 25 years.

For more convention center news, check out “Memphis Paves the Way for New Convention Center Digs” and “Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center Raises the Bar.

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