State Approves Funds for Philly Convention Center Expansion

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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Philadelphia, PA – The Pennsylvania Legislature approved an increase in funding for the expansion of Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. The measure, which passed June 28, added $300 million to the project and will allow the city’s redevelopment agency to begin acquiring land for the expansion. Gov. Ed Rendell was expected to sign the bill in early July.

The expansion calls for increasing prime exhibit space from 440,000 square feet to 700,000 square feet as well as constructing the largest ballroom on the East Coast at 93,000 square feet.

In addition, the expansion will give the center a total of 45 truck berths, 255,000 square feet of banquet space and 162,000 square feet of meeting room space.

The CVB said the $700 million project was needed to keep Philadelphia positioned to host major trade shows and conventions. The bureau said it turned away 160 conventions totaling 1.6 million room nights between 1997 and 2005  due to a lack of availability at the current center.

The expansion project was expected to create 280,000 additional room nights with an economic impact of about $140 million and support some 2,000 hospitality jobs with a $150 million economic impact.

The CVB said there had been expressions of interest from hotel chains and developers about the possibility of building new hotels in the convention center area.  However,  a target completion date for the expansion has not yet been set and the companies were waiting for the construction timeline to be firmed up before making any commitments on hotel construction.

Reach Tom Muldoon, president of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, at (215) 636-3300 or tomm@pcvb.org.