SMG Selected for New Stint as Colorado Convention Center Management

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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Denver, CO – Denver has decided it has a good thing going with SMG and has recommended that the incumbent managers of the Colorado Convention Center be awarded a new series of contracts totaling 12 years.

John Adams, who serves as SMG’s regional vice president for convention centers as well as general manager of the center, said the city’s selection committee recommended Thursday that the city enter into negotiations on a contract package that could keep SMG ensconced as the center’s management through 2021. “We are moving directly from the selection process into the negotiations,” Adams told Trade Show Executive. The deal could be wrapped up by January.

The renewal was the third booked by SMG this year, according to Gregg Caren, senior vice president strategic business development. Palm Springs renewed earlier in July as did Atlantic City in the Spring. SMG’s bid for a renewal of its contract with the Miami Beach Convention Center has not been decided yet although a controversial partnership of Global Spectrum and Messe Schweiz got the first nod.

The pending contract package with the Denver facility will consist of four 3-year pacts that would begin in 2009, Adams said. SMG will be evaluated every three years, but the management agreement will not be open to outside bids at that time. The deal replaces a similar agreement consisting of three 5-year contracts that SMG first signed in 1994. “This is the first time since then that we went through a competitive bid process,” said Adams. The details on the competing proposals were not revealed.

The Colorado Convention Center is ranked No. 24 on the TSE list of the World’s Top Convention Centers. It expanded in 2004 and now offers 584,000 square feet of prime exhibit space plus another 100,000 square feet of meeting space. The 50,000-seat Wells Fargo Theatre is used for large general sessions as well as concerts and other public events.

The center plays host to several regional and community events as well as numerous annual consumer shows. It will be the site this year of conventions and expositions such as Fire-Rescue International ConferenceWood Truss Council of America Building Component Manufacturers Conference, the National Hemophilia Foundation Annual Meeting, and the Association of School Business Officials International’s 94th Annual Meeting & Exhibits.

Adams said the center had been part of a resurgence of Denver’s downtown area in recent years that has included about $750 million in investment, including a 1,100-room Hyatt convention hotel. “A lot of the major properties are expanding,” he said.

Caren called Denver “one of the newest and hottest tier one destinations.” He said, “Between the facility’s expansion, a vibrant, accessible downtown and a continually strong airlift, Denver is attracting a lot of attention. The whole destination package is a home run.”

The Denver convention district will be in the national spotlight in late August when the Democratic National Convention takes place. While the Pepsi Center some six blocks away is the main venue, the Colorado Convention Center will be busy hosting parties, various caucuses and providing office space. “We will be glad when Fall gets here,” Adams remarked.

Reach John Adams at (303) 228-8028 or jadams@denverconvention.com; Gregg Caren at (215) 592-6644 or gcaren@smgworld.com