NEW MICE ATTRACTION IN TENNESSEE

US$175 Million expansion & renovation project for the Memphis Convention Center.

With transformation of facility set to be complete in Q4 2019, the City of Memphis has officially filed a construction permit for a ground-up transformation of the Memphis Cook Convention Center.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland announced plans for the project, pending City Council approval, to coincide with the city’s bicentennial year as part of the Bicentennial Gateway.

Located in downtown Memphis, every square inch of the convention center will be touched by this project, bringing hotel quality finishes and modern amenities desired by meeting planners and delegates. LRK of Memphis and tvsdesign have collaborated to develop a design plan that utilizes and enhances the existing facility. Their collective vision will expand the footprint of the building with outdoor terraces and glass enclosed concourses, prefunction and meetings spaces that embrace the river and skyline views, while adding valuable square footage that includes additional breakout meeting rooms. The project will allow the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau to pursue new meeting and convention opportunities, while also allowing shows taking place in the facility on an annual basis to grow with the expansion and renovation.

“This demonstrates our commitment and desire to be competitive in the meetings and conventions market,” said Kevin Kane, President & CEO of the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau. “As the destination marketing organization for Memphis and manager of the facility, this has long been a goal of the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau and Memphis Management Group. So much more than an expansion and renovation, this transformation of our facility will aid us in sustaining and growing the tourism and hospitality industry’s impressive annual economic impact.”

“Our administration is reinvesting in the core of our city like we haven’t seen in many years,” said Jim Strickland, Mayor of Memphis. “This is more than simply a renovation – this project will enhance the interior and exterior of the convention center in exciting new ways that take advantage of its location overlooking the Mississippi River.”

To accomplish this vital project that will incorporate public art, add digital wayfinding, create a sense of arrival within the parking structure, and include four additional bays for Main Exhibit Hall load in and load out, the City of Memphis has budgeted $175 million dollars in funds generated by the city’s hotel lodging tax and Downtown Tourism Development Zone. To get an idea of the size and scope of this game changing expansion and renovation, explore a gallery of images by visiting: memphistravel.com/conventioncenter.

FACILITY FAST FACTS

  • The Memphis Cook Convention Center’s column free Main Exhibit Hall, with more than 125,000 square feet, will feature retractable ceiling lights, upgraded wall finishes and a newly constructed exterior pre-function concourse overlooking the Mississippi River.
  • The expansion will bring the total number of highly flexible breakout rooms to 52, a secondary flex space will easily convert to a 40,000 sq. foot ballroom, in addition to an existing 28,000 sq. foot ballroom.
  • A new, spacious and modern grand entrance on the east side of the building, conveniently located across from the Sheraton Hotel and a Main Street Trolley transit station that connects to several downtown hotels, is planned as part of the renovation and upgrades.
  • A new sky bridge across Main Street will conveniently connect the 600 room Sheraton Memphis Downtown Hotel to the convention center.
  • The impressive 2,100 seat Cannon Center for the Performing Arts connected to the convention center will also see cosmetic and back of house upgrades as part of the renovation project.
  • The expansion will also include a redesign of the loading docks for a total of five permanent docks that will accommodate five 18-wheelers to load in and load out for shows.
  • Underground parking entrances to the building will be greatly enhanced to provide a sense of arrival with a total of 900 spaces in the parking deck available to convention delegates and exhibitors.

The Memphis Meeting Planners Advisory Board, led by Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau Board Chairman Lani Glancy, played a pivotal role in identifying the necessary improvements that are critical to the future and success of the facility. Equally important in making all of this a reality is the leadership of Wayne Tabor and the Board of Commissioners of the Memphis Cook Convention Center, together they have helped define a bright new future for this important facility.

Through careful planning, the convention center and Cannon Center will both remain open and continue to host events throughout the construction project.

The Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau and Memphis Management Group, operator of the Memphis Cook Convention Center, support the local economy and the community’s positive image through tourism and convention development, major events and destination marketing. The hospitality and tourism industry in Memphis currently supports over 35,000 tourism-related jobs that produce $623 million in annual payroll. In 2016, 10.5 million people visited Memphis, generating over $3 billion in expenditures and the collection of $158 million in state and local sales taxes from visitors.