October 20, 2015

Wall-Breaking Ceremony Launches $125 Million Greater Columbus Convention Center Expansion & Renovation

More than 100 well-wishers Tuesday joined the Board of the Franklin County Convention Authority (FCCFA), Franklin County Commissioner John O’Grady, customer representatives and project partners to witness the official launch of a $125 million renovation and expansion of the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

Armed with hammers, local partners and dignitaries broke through a ceremonial wall to usher in a project that will transform both the size and the appearance of the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

“This complete makeover will enhance the visitor experience in Columbus and will further strengthen our ability to attract premier events to our city,” said Sally Bloomfield, Chair of the FCCFA Board.

When the completed work is unveiled in mid-2017, visitors will immediately notice a dramatic two-story glass atrium lobby and Convention Center entrance, an abundance of homegrown artwork and a fully air-conditioned glass sky-bridge connecting to the new 800-space Goodale Street Parking Garage. Other key expansion components include:

  • Nearly 100,000 square feet of LEED-certified new space for conventions, visitors and vendors.
  • Almost 800,000 square feet of renovated spaces, bringing them up to hotel-quality finishes.
  • Landscaping and signage improvements to 103,000 square feet of streetscape.
  • Meeting room inventory grows from 65 to 75 rooms.
  • A total of 373,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit hall space.

“Franklin County’s central city continues to be recognized nationally for its achievements because of the strong partnerships our public and private sector leaders continue to forge. As a result, millions of visitors come to Columbus each year, and their spending is the foundation upon which additional economic development, job creation opportunities and support for families, seniors and our veterans in need are created,” said Commissioner John O’Grady. “The rebirth of our convention center  is an important step as we continue to build this world class community and Franklin County is excited to showcase the new facility to county commissioners from across the United States in July 2017 during the National Association of Counties annual meeting being held here.”

Other speakers included construction partners James W. Smith, CEO of Elford, Inc., Jim P. Negron, executive vice president of Corna Kokosing Construction Company and customer Jim Lorimer of the Arnold Sports Festival.

A reception following the ceremony showcased the FCCFA’s virtual tour and new catering partner, Centerplate.

View the virtual tour here.

Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority

The Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority was created in 1988 to finance the construction and operation of a new Columbus convention center. As a unique government unit responsible for developing, building and operating convention facilities, the FCCFA today owns and operates the Greater Columbus Convention Center, the Hilton Columbus Downtown and Nationwide Arena, as well as four parking facilities. In addition the FCCFA also owns land used to develop the Hyatt Regency, the Drury Inn & Suites and various parking facilities.

The FCCFA is empowered to issue tax and lease revenue bonds backed by the hotel tax receipts, and currently levies a 4 percent countywide hotel occupancy tax and an additional 0.9 percent citywide hotel occupancy tax. These tax rates have remained unchanged since they were established in 1988.

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