CRVA Media Contacts:
Karen Brand, Director of Communications
Molly Ruggere, Public Relations Manager
Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority Breaks Ground on the Charlotte Convention Center Expansion
Groundbreaking ceremony held in collaboration with the City of Charlotte to kick off the $126.9 million project
Today the City of Charlotte, the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA), hospitality leaders and members of the community officially kicked off the expansion of the Charlotte Convention Center with a groundbreaking ceremony including remarks from Mayor Vi Lyles and Tom Murray, CEO of Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority.
"Charlotte visitor spending hit a record $7.4 billion in the region last year, and one in nine residents work in hospitality or tourism," said Murray. "The expansion of the Charlotte Convention Center is a response to the city's appeal as a visitor destination, with the goal of bringing business to the region, increasing Charlotte's competitiveness and solidifying our reputation as one of the premier meetings destinations in the Southeast."
A primary component of the $126.9 million expansion will be a pedestrian bridge linking the new wing of the convention center to The Westin Charlotte hotel, the city’s largest convention center hotel with more than 700 rooms. The pedestrian connectivity will be located along Center City’s convenient LYNX light rail with access to an area termed “Stonewall Corridor,” which is currently undergoing development as well. The architecture will boast a “jewel box” design element and have a similar feel to New York City’s High Line.
“Expanding the Charlotte Convention Center is really an investment into the future of our tourism industry,” said Mayor Vi Lyles. “We are excited to work with project partners to create a bigger and better convention center that will generate more meetings, trade shows, sporting events and gatherings of all kinds.”
Additional updates to the configuration of the Charlotte Convention Center, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2020, will allow for an increase in meeting rooms and soft spaces where attendees can network between sessions. The supplementary meeting room space will allow the center to house 55 individual breakout sessions at one time, with capacities ranging from 50 to 600 people theater-style per breakout. In total, the expansion will increase the capacity of the existing meeting level by 50,000 square feet, including:
26,000 square feet of breakout space comprised of 15 meeting rooms ranging from 940 to 2,600 square feet
24,000 square feet of pre-function space
The ability to configure the Richardson Ballroom into four meeting rooms of 7,700 square feet each
As part of this project, the Charlotte Convention Center construction team has implemented a workforce development initiative benefiting local job seekers and employers, while contributing to Charlotte's and the Carolinas' economic stability and prosperity. The goal is to collaborate with organizations in the region that are already contributing to the development of Charlotte's workforce through an apprenticeship program to build a strong, diverse and skilled construction talent pool.
Since opening in 1995, the Charlotte Convention Center has welcomed more than 11 million guests from around the world and served as the Charlotte region's go-to venue for conventions, trade shows, banquets, theater style conferences, product launches, sporting events and more. It has earned business from prestigious national events such as the NBA All-Star Weekend, a revenue-driver of $87.7 million for the city. During the expansion, the Charlotte Convention Center will remain open, hosting major events including the Mid-Atlantic Boat Show in February 2020, the Republican National Convention in August 2020 and more. The project is anticipated to be completed by late summer 2021.