CO convention center expansion costs double to $233M
- The estimated cost of a planned expansion to the Colorado Convention Center in Denver has more than doubled to $233 million, according to The Denver Post.
- The rooftop additions, which were first projected to cost $104 million, include an 80,000-square-foot ballroom and a 50,000-square-foot terrace, in addition to renovations to three existing lobbies and technology upgrades throughout the entire facility.
- Denver officials plan to pay for the project using existing revenue streams earmarked for the convention center with help from a proposed 1% tax collected by midsize and large hotels, bringing the total hotel tax at those establishments to 15.75%. City officials said the tax would bring in an extra $3.8 million each year for the convention center.
Convention center representatives attributed the rising cost estimate to the skilled-labor shortage in Denver, climbing steel prices and building code requirements. Denver officials expect pushback on the tax from hotels that are not in close proximity to the convention center, so they plan an educational campaign on how business from the convention center will benefit them as well.
Denver convention center officials have learned that competition for convention business is stiff and that increased capacity and amenities will likely help draw in more shows and meetings. The city estimates that Denver could see $85 million in annual extra economic benefit from the expansion.
Even New York City, a big tourist draw all year long, is expanding its main convention facility, the Jacob K. Javits Center, in order to compete for more business. The $1.5 billion overhaul, like Denver's, will also include some new rooftop features but will mainly increase the facility's existing space by 50%. New York City officials expect the renovated center to bring in an extra $400 million a year in direct and indirect financial benefits.
Denver is also including a critical improvement in their convention center project — a technology facelift. David Anderson, regional vice president of Spectra by Comcast Spectacor, told Construction Dive in March that tech improvements were among the most critical upgrades to convention centers. Thousands of attendees, he said, expect ease of communication at the same level of quality and speed that they experience in their offices back home, which can be a major stressor on bandwidth.
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