Recently, I attended a really cool tour of the Phoenix Convention Center. One of the attendees was my good friend, Gene Urban. Gene writes the “Urban Life Blog” and always shares a lot of cool things about downtown so I asked if he would write a post sharing his thoughts. Thanks so much to Gene for sharing!
Phoenix Convention Center… a major piece of the downtown Phoenix success puzzle.
A quick hop north from the 3rd and Washington rail stop lays the expanded Phoenix Convention Center… a significant addition to the downtown area. The convention center began as Phoenix Civic Plaza in the 1960’s and has stretched into one of the top 20 convention sites in the Nation.
A week or so ago, a group of us were treated to a behind the scenes look at the Phoenix convention facilities. It was a pretty big wow!. Dan Padilla, the operations manager, took us on a whirl wind tour of the nearly 900,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space.
The center offers both exhibition space and a modern conference center. Most of us knew about the exhibition space, but the conference center surprised us with its state-of the-art executive board room and an impressive 192 seat education center with every audio/visual trick imaginable… even one of those polling systems you see on court TV where the audience proclaims innocent or guilty. I love fun tech.
Guests of the conference center not only have leeds certified meeting spaces, they are treated to an extraordinary range of food and beverage options included in their flat-fee package.
The January 2009 expansion of the convention center, the North building, put Phoenix on the map for major conventions never possible in the past. The NRA recently brought 60,000+ members and exhibitors to the Valley. While much of the news media focused on stories about gun ownership rights, the Valley was rewarded with millions in revenue. Funny we didn’t hear from the “I Hate Pink” people when Mary Kay was in town earlier this year.
In the first 6 months of 2009 over 100,000 people came downtown to play, spend money and attend conferences. Dan Padella estimates over 300,000 people will be attending events at the convention center in 2010. Watch out Atlanta, Chicago, New York and San Diego… Phoenix is now a player in the international convention game.