Major Venue Updates for Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale/Broward County
Two major convention venues in the Southeast U.S. have been expanding their event spaces to accommodate more trade show business. Here’s how things are developing with Atlanta’s Georgia World Congress Center and Florida’s Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center.
Georgia World Congress Center Completes Exhibit Hall BC
Georgia World Congress Center’s new $55 million Exhibit Hall BC project has been completed ahead of schedule and under budget. With the 100,000-square-foot expansion creating more than 1 million square feet of contiguous exhibition space, the GWCC’s total exhibit space now grosses more than 1.4 million sq. ft.
"International Production & Processing Expo, held Jan. 26-28, was the first convention to use the new exhibit hall."
As the GWCC’s first major expansion since 2002, Exhibit Hall BC is poised to make a quick return on investment, with more than 20 events already committed to using the new space and bookings stretching into 2030. This translates into approximately $20 million in rental revenue and the potential of drawing more than 600,000 attendees to the city, according to GWCCA officials
“The Congress Center’s expansion reaffirms its importance to Georgia’s economic growth and continued increase in tourism,” said State Senator Butch Miller, chairman of GWCCA’s legislative overview committee. “I applaud the Authority for completing this project ahead of schedule and under budget; it exemplifies its continued stewardship of the funds we’ve entrusted to them.”
As part of the Authority’s 2020 strategic plan, focused on reshaping the downtown Atlanta campus to draw in more event business and tourism, the Exhibit Hall BC expansion completion joins a $27 million capital improvement project at Centennial Olympic Park and the addition of a Signia by Hilton headquarter hotel that is set to break ground this spring.
Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center Expansion
The Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center has launched a $1 billion expansion and headquarters hotel project that will grow the existing 600,000 sq. ft. South Florida facility to 1.2 million sq. ft.
Set to be fully underway by March 2 and completed in phases by mid 2023, the expansion will include 350,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space and 132,000 sq. ft. of ballroom space across four ballrooms, including a new 65,000 sq. ft. waterfront ballroom. Total meeting space will measure 215,000 sq. ft. with 50 breakout rooms, 220,000 sq. ft. of flexible space and a 6-acre outdoor waterfront plaza.
Slated for completion in 2023, the project’s new 800-room Omni headquarters hotel will feature a rooftop bar with waterfront views, multiple dining venues, 73,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, a spa and fitness center, and outdoor event space.
With the goal of achieving LEED Gold certification, the venue expansion and headquarters hotel will be the centerpiece of a convention center district enhancement project that will include outdoor event space, new dining concepts, shopping, arts and cultural attractions.
“Years of careful planning have brought us here, and we are celebrating the fact that this expansion will boost the local economy and create more than 1,000 new jobs,” said Broward County Mayor Dale Holness.
According to Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB officials, preliminary work on the demolition of the convention center’s surrounding structures kicked off in summer 2019; the facility will close at the end of February as major construction takes hold for the next 18 months. The convention center will open in phases with some meetings returning in late 2021, and the expanded exhibit hall and full completion is expected by mid 2023.
Check out a video of the expansion project here.