Charlotte Convention Center Expansion Underway

$110 million expansion part of $2.7 billion mixed-use development

  • by Noelle Riley
  • Published: October 11, 2017

The Charlotte (N.C.) Convention Center is slated to undergo a $110-million expansion in 2019, including 50,000 additional square feet of meeting space and a pedestrian bridge that links the venue to its neighboring 700-room Westin hotel.

Located next to what’s set to be a bustling $2.7 billion mixed-use development along the Stonewall Corridor in Center City, the convention center is in need of more amenities and space. The corridor is currently under construction and encompasses urban living, retail, restaurants, office spaces and hotels.

The development is next to the LYNX light rail. City officials are touting the architecture of the mixed-use development, which will have a similar feel to New York City’s High Line.

TVS Design is the architect for the convention center’s expansion.

“We wanted to make our convention center more competitive from a break out space standpoint,” said Laura Hill White, director of communications for the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA), which operates that convention center. “Overall, things are booming in Charlotte.”

Construction on the mixed-use development at Center City will take roughly three-to-five years to finish. Ground will break on the convention center’s expansion in February 2019, after the National Basketball Association All-Star Game and is scheduled for completion in December 2020.

“These renovations will ensure our space continues to be competitive for meeting and convention business and can tout high demand features, like the pedestrian walkway, that will deliver a best-in-class experience for visitors,” CRVA CEO Tom Murray said in a statement.

Hotels continue to sprout in the area, White said, highlighting that roughly 10 years ago, the city had only 1,500 rooms. Now Charlotte boasts close to 5,000 hotel rooms.

Owned and operated by the city, the 22-year-old convention center currently has 550,000 square feet of space, including 280,000 square feet of exhibit space, nearly 126,500 square feet of flexible meeting space — including 37 meeting rooms — a 40,000-square-foot Crown Ballroom and the 35,000-square-foot Richardson Ballroom, 43,000 square feet of concourse space, six VIP show offices, full-service, in-house food and beverage and a 4,000-square-foot Delish Food Court.

Additional updates to the configuration of the Charlotte Convention Center will allow for an increase in meeting rooms and soft spaces where attendees can network between sessions, stated the press release.

“The supplementary meeting room space will allow the center to house 54 individual breakout sessions at one time with capacities ranging from 50-600 people theater-style per breakout,” according to the release.

The convention center expansion is being paid for by an allocation from the Convention Tax Fund debt capacity that was approved by Charlotte City Council, allowing them to fund enhancements.

The Westin Charlotte hotel is across the street, and the pedestrian bridge will link the two for easy accessibility to the guests.

A Whole Foods also is being built next to the convention center, which will be great for all the foot traffic in the area, White said.

The Charlotte Convention Center expects business to continue booming in years to come. It just finished a number of high-profile conferences and hosts the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) men’s and women's basketball tournament each year.

The Professional Golfer’s Association (PGA) Championships were in Charlotte this August, bringing big business to the convention center and the city’s hospitality industry as a whole, White said.

Other conferences coming up in the near future include the American Football Coaches Association and the American Bus Association.

"The CRVA is committed to creating a center that delivers an exceptional customer experience at the Charlotte Convention Center,” Murray said in a statement.

Specifically (pedestrian bridge aside), the 50,000-square-feet expansion includes 26,000 square feet of breakout space comprised of 15 meeting rooms ranging from 940 to 2,600 sq. ft.; and 24,000 sq. ft. of pre-function space, which will give the center the ability to configure the Richardson Ballroom into four meeting rooms (7,700 square feet each).

 

  • by Noelle Riley
  • Published: October 11, 2017