Vancouver, BC – Last week, the Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre (VCEC) broke ground on an expansion that will triple the facility’s exhibition and meeting space. The ceremony was attended by numerous government figures, including the Honorable Gordon Campbell, Premier of British Columbia. The expansion will add 359,000 square feet of exhibition, meeting and function space to the 133,000 square feet that currently exists. When completed in 2008, the $565 million center will offer 492,000 total square feet of event space.
The expansion is expected to meet high demand for meeting space in the city. The 15-year old center now turns away an average of 53 events per year. “This expansion will allow us to attract groups of all sizes,” says John Les, Minister of Small Business and Economic Development. The announcement follows an exhaustive planning and feasibility phase that demonstrated strong business potential for an expanded center, and a need for such a facility to support the Vancouver – Whistler bid for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Designed for flexibility in accommodating multiple events, the expansion will add:
- 230,900 square feet of exhibit space to the existing 91,000 square feet of column-free exhibit space;
- 67,100 square feet of meeting space to the existing 25,000 square feet;
- 46,000 square feet of ballroom space to the 17,000 offered now; and
- a 15,000 square foot Signature Room.
According to John Les, the convention business brought $422 million into the local economy in 2003. The completed project is expected to generate additional delegate spending of $229 million per year.
The Province of British Columbia, the Government of Canada and Tourism Vancouver have formed a partnership to provide funding. Tourism Vancouver is contributing $90 million, and the federal and provincial governments are each providing up to $222.5 million. VCEC revenue will contribute an additional $30 million.
Reach Barbara Maple, General Manager, Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre at (604) 689-8232; Walt Judas, VP, Marketing Communications & 2010 Strategies, Tourism Vancouver, (604) 631-2882.