December 18, 2019

Taking Stock of 2019 and Looking Toward 2020

“Every time you tear a leaf off a calendar, you present a new place for new ideas and progress.” –  Inventor Charles Kettering

As the FCCFA prepares to tear another leaf off the calendar, we look back on 2019 with a sense of accomplishment and forward to 2020 with an eye on continued progress. Here are some highlights.

Building Projects

During 2019, the FCCFA kept pace with the growth of central Ohio’s conventions and events sector – which contributes more than $8 billion to the local economy each year – by pursuing two major building projects: the Ohio Center Garage and the Hilton Columbus Downtown hotel expansion.

After breaking ground in late 2018, the Ohio Center Garage began to rise on the east side of the Greater Columbus Convention Center as the $21 million, 650-space structure moved rapidly toward a completion date in early 2020.

Site preparation for the new 28-story Hilton Tower began in late fall, and construction is expected to ramp up in 2020 with a completion date of early 2022. A ceremonial groundbreaking on August 9 brought out members of the community and the executive committee of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), in town for the organization’s annual meeting and exposition.

Convention Business

 ASAE proved to be the plumb that everyone had anticipated, bringing 5,400 association professionals and industry partners to Columbus for the first time. High attendee ratings for Columbus and its convention facilities became cause for optimism that ASAE members will book events here for their own associations in the coming years.

Then, in early November, the Professional Convention Management Association selected Columbus to host its Convening Leaders convention in 2023. That event is expected to bring more than 4,000 attendees to Columbus and contribute more than $6 million in direct visitor spending to the local economy.

Growth as an Arts Center

The FCCFA is increasingly recognized not just for its state-of-the-art convention and event venues, but as a center for public art. In 2019, the FCCFA took significant steps forward to expand its arts offerings and support for local artists by holding the city’s first ever Creative Video, Animation and Motion Graphic Design Festival and awards competition and issuing a call for art for the new Hilton Tower.

The arts were front and center as well in the FCCFA’s support for a new citywide ticket fee that went into effect in July. Though the new fee was not without controversy, it is seen as essential to bolstering Columbus’ arts and culture economy and providing for needed improvements to the FCCFA-owned Nationwide Arena.

Community Engagement

The FCCFA continued to engage with the community through a variety of outreach channels, including regular construction updates, periodic news digests like this one, and leverage of media and social media channels. During 2019, the FCCFA:

  • Was mentioned in nearly 125 news stories
  • Grew our Facebook audience by 32%
  • Grew our Instagram audience by 79%
  • Launched a construction e-newsletter to effectively communicate with our neighboring properties during construction

Looking Forward

As you can see, the FCCFA has momentum going into 2020. What can you expect next year? Stay with us to:

  • Celebrate the grand opening of the Ohio Center Garage
  • Watch the Hilton Tower expansion take shape
  • Experience a vibrant and growing center of the arts
  • Welcome exciting announcements about new conventions and events flocking to our thriving city
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