As the event industry grows and continues to be a successful stream of revenue for local governments and businesses alike, cities have placed renewed value on enlarging and modernizing their convention centers to attract new and larger groups. Competition among venues for meeting business has intensified, leading to a construction “arms race”. 2017 has been one of the busiest years on record for convention center building and expansion, and the pace continues in 2018, with nine U.S. venues scheduled to debut space.
While none of the top ten exhibition centers in the U.S. has changes planned for 2018, three of the top four just completed construction in 2017 (McCormick Place, Orange County Convention Center and the Georgia World Congress Center), and the fourth (Las Vegas Convention Center) plans an expansion in 2021. Currently, there are 21 projects in construction, and an additional 38 in various stages of progress throughout North America. Here are the ones slated for completion next year:
February: Aria, on the Las Vegas strip, increases to nearly 500,000 sq. ft. of event space, including seven ballrooms on four levels. The expansion results in almost 220,000 sq. ft. of prime exhibit space and 68,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.
June: Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, Michigan expands to 305,000 sq. ft. of prime exhibit space, divisible into four separate halls. Meeting space increases to more than 84,000 sq. ft. and 52 breakout rooms.
July: The Gaylord Texan, minutes from the airport in Grapevine, Texas adds 86,000 sq. ft. and 300 guest rooms to its long list of amenities.
August: Kentucky International Convention Center grows to more than 200,000 sq. ft. of prime exhibit space and adds a 40,000 sq. ft. ballroom with the latest technology.
Q3: Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut more than doubles its prime exhibit space to nearly 70,000 sq. ft. The facility also has 13,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, another 36,000 sq. ft. in flexible space, plus 50 breakout rooms.
Miami Beach Convention Center expands its meeting space from 127,000 sq. ft. to 190,000 sq. ft. in 81 breakouts.
Q4: MGM Grand in Las Vegas increases its meeting space from 500,000 sq. ft. to 750,000 sq. ft. and from 50 breakouts to more than 100.
The Moscone Center North/South expansion in San Francisco will join the two areas to form more than 505,000 contiguous sq. ft. of exhibition space.
The only new build of 2018 is the long-awaited Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center in Denver, Colorado. Located just ten minutes from the Denver Airport, it will have 175,000 sq. ft. of prime exhibit space, 310,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, and 20,000 sq. ft. outdoor space. The resort will have 1,500 guest rooms, including 114 suites, and eight dining establishments.