Downtown Spokane Convention Center seeking $60 million expansion

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by Othello Richards & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on March 20, 2012 at 6:24 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 20 at 6:41 PM

SPOKANE--Next month voters will be asked to shell out more than $60 million to expand the Downtown Spokane Convention Center.

The Spokane Public Facility District just finished a similar expansion project on the same building six years ago.

Officials overseeing the convention center say in order to stay competitive in bringing events to Spokane the facility must expand.

In 2003 work got underway to expand the existing convention center in downtown Spokane.  3 years later the facility opened with 82,000 square feet of exhibit hall space.

Visit Spokane President and CEO Cheryl Kilda says the expansion attracted more groups and events than ever before.  She also says the city is losing 25% of meetings and conventions because of the same space.

Expansion plans call for 20,000 square feet of more exhibit hall space and 50,000 square feet of meeting rooms right next to the exhibit hall.

Right now visitors have to walk across a breezeway to get to the meeting rooms, which is a less desirable accommodation for groups.

This April voters will be asked to pay for the approximately $60 million project by extending a 2% hotel room tax and a 1/10th of a penny sales tax an additional ten years to 2043.

It’s estimated the local economy has lost $71 million because of the current size of the facility and groups taking their conventions elsewhere.
 

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