Indianapolis, IN – The proposed expansion of the Indiana Convention Center unveiled this week will add 321,000 square feet of prime exhibit space, nearly doubling the capacity of the facility. The Indianapolis venue currently offers 403,700 square feet of prime exhibit space and ranks as the 31st largest convention center in the U.S., according to Trade Show Executive’s Directory of the World’s Top Convention Centers (WTCC). The expansion to 724,700 square feet of exhibit space will catapult the facility into the Top 20 when it is completed in 2010. The expansion will also add 63,000 square feet of meeting rooms to the present 139,925 square feet of meeting space.
This moves Indianapolis into the big leagues, making us competitive with the largest convention cities and giving us an advantage over most other American cities,” predicted Bob Bedell, president of the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association. “This expansion…gives Indianapolis the ability to host larger conventions and two major conventions simultaneously.”
State and local funding approvals have been given for the $275 million expansion, the fourth since the hall opened in 1972. A major step will be the demolition in 2008 of the RCA Dome after which construction of the new building will begin.
The Dome is being replaced by Lucas Oil Stadium, which will serve both as the home field for the Indianapolis Colts and as an adjunct to the convention center. Phase V also includes 103,000 square feet of pre-function space with a new lobby area on Capital Ave.
Conspicuously absent in the plans is a new ballroom, which Bedell said was deemed an unnecessary expense. “The largest trade shows and conventions require exhibit halls instead of ballrooms,” he said. “We believe existing ballrooms will service most events.”
In a related matter, the Indianapolis Local Public Improvement Bond Bank’s Hotel Selection Advisory Committee held a public hearing Nov. 15 to hear public comment on plans for new hotel capacity around the convention center. The proposals include building an Intercontinental Hotel at Pan Am Plaza, a JW Marriott on the corner of Washington and West Streets, and expanding the existing Westin on Capital Ave.
Reach Bob Bedell at 317-639-7579 or firstname.lastname@example.org