Initial work on the massive, approximately $115 million, Charlotte Convention Center expansion project is underway.
The work will make the 22-year-old building a more appealing and competitive host for big-name events, while connecting the space to the Stonewall corridor, a booming hub undergoing $2.7 billion in development.
When the renovations are complete, look for a pedestrian bridge linking the new wing of the Convention Center to the neighboring Westin hotel on South College Street, a popular pick for convention attendees, plus the Stonewall Station LYNX Light Rail stop.
Expect the bridge’s design to be visually reminiscent of the High Line in New York City.
The building will also get an additional 50,000-square-feet of leasable space. This includes:
- 26,000-square-feet of breakout space, featuring 15 meeting rooms
- 24,000-square-feet of pre-function space
- The addition of two 10,000-square-foot multi-use spaces
- The ability to convert the Richardson Ballroom into four large meeting rooms
The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority tells the Agenda that its vision for the completed project is “for Charlotte to be recognized as the most sought-after city in the Southeast for meetings, conventions, trade shows and sporting events.”
The goal is to complete the work in late summer or early fall of 2021. The CRVA notes that it never intended to have the project completed by the RNC in 2020. The original budget for the renovations was $110 million, though that number has since increased to $115 million and is still being finalized based on construction bids.
The price tag is high, but so is the expected economic impact.
The CRVA says the Convention Center had a $112.3 million impact in 2018, including $63.5 million in direct visitor spending.