Cincinnati, OH – Cincinnati jumps into the spotlight of the midwest exhibition business this week with the June 22 grand re-opening of its convention center, a downtown venue that now offers nearly 200,000 square feet of prime exhibition space and enough meeting rooms for just about any event.
“Cincinnati is making a statement that it is back in the big leagues,” said Tom Mobley, senior vice president for convention centers at Global Spectrum, the facility management firm for the Duke Energy Center. The facility was known as Cinergy Center prior to Cinergy’s merger with Duke Energy and the launch of its overhaul and expansion project two years ago.
With downtown attractions and a covey of hotels, including Hyatt, Hilton and Westin clustered nearby, the Queen City intends to be a choice venue for shows and conventions involving technology and medical science as well as in the midwest-based machinery field and areas of interest to Proctor & Gamble and other Cincinnati-based Fortune 500 companies.
The expanded facility can now accommodate 75 percent of the trade show, convention and meeting market. Officials predict the new convention center will account for about 2,000 jobs and incremental increases in convention spending of about $122 million annually. In addition, the project came in at a final cost of $135 million, $10 million under budget, and was completed in just about two years.
“Increased space and flexibility are at the heart of this project,” said Dan Lincoln, president of the Greater Cincinnati Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We now have a best-in-class facility that offers convention-goers the utmost in design, layout and amenities.” One of the sleek 750,000 square-foot structure’s features include a unique outside lighting panel on the Interstate 75 side of the building that spells out “CINCINNATI” in 50-foot letters. On the inside, however, is a meat-and-potatoes layout of exhibit space and breakout rooms designed for maximum flexibility.
The center offers 196,900 square feet of prime exhibition space, enough room for about 990 booths and compares to 161,000 square feet in the old Cinergy Center. The new loading dock has 17 berths, and there are three portals for semi-truck access. The 38,962 square-foot Grand Ballroom is billed as the biggest in the Midwest and is supported by a full-service kitchen that can feed banquet crowds of up to 5,000 guests.
But the Grand Ballroom and the smaller 17,472 square-foot junior ballroom are not just for hors d’oeuvres, sumptuous meals and dancing; when counted in the meeting room mix , the total breakout space is 100,000 square feet and can be divided into 37 rooms. There is a total of 45,438 square feet of meeting space located on the second floor of the building.