Philadelphia, PA — The Pennsylvania Convention Center has received the first $50 MIL in state funds needed to begin its $632 MIL expansion initiated six years ago. The release of funds by Governor Edward G. Rendell will allow the project to proceed on schedule with completion expected in December 2008. “We are very excited that the money is now available and we can proceed with our planning,” says Dittie F. Guise, Chief Operating Officer of the center.
The expansion will add 260,000 square feet of exhibit space to the existing 440,000 square feet for a total of 700,000 square feet. Of this, 541,000 square feet will be contiguous. Roughly 72,000 square feet of meeting space will also be added, bringing the total to 162,000 square feet. A second, recently completed feasibility study suggests that the center may want to increase the meeting space even more and suggests a minimum of 80,000 square feet to increase the facility’s competitiveness in the marketplace.
A majority of the newly released funds will be used to purchase roughly 22 properties that lay in the path of the expansion. The process is expected to take roughly eight months, according to Michael Nutter, Convention Center Authority Chairman.
The governor, though supportive of the project since his term as mayor, had delayed funding. Governor Rendell stated that he would not release further funds until action on the center’s management and marketing of the expansion had been addressed.
According to Nutter, the Pennsylvania Convention Center recently signed a management and consulting agreement with SMG to enhance its operations and marketing. Already, 26 customers have indicated an interest in booking the center in 2009 and beyond, says Nutter. Reach Dittie F. Guise at (215) 418-4700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.