|Baltimore Convention Center|
|Location|| 1 West Pratt Street|
Baltimore, Maryland 21201
|Original Section (Eastern half) - Broke Ground||1978?|
|Original Section (Eastern half) - Opened||1979|
|Expanded Section (Western half) - Broke Ground||1996|
|Expanded Section (Western half) - Opened||1997|
|Baltimore Convention Center Original Section - Renovated||1997|
|Hilton Baltimore Convention Center Hotel - Broke Ground||Hilton Baltimore Convention Center Hotel - Planned Opening Date||August 2008|
|Baltimore Convention Center Owner||The City of Baltimore|
|Baltimore Convention Center Operator||Baltimore Area Convention & Visitors Association|
|Hilton Baltimore Convention Center Hotel - Owner||The City of Baltimore (Through a Baltimore City Government run non-profit City agency, The Baltimore Hotel Corporation|
|Hilton Baltimore Convention Center Hotel - Operator||The City of Baltimore (Through a Baltimore City Government run non-profit City agency, The Baltimore Hotel Corporation|
|Food Service/Catering Manager||Aramark|
|Construction Cost - Original (Eastern half)||$51.4 million USD|
|Construction Cost - Expansion (Western half)||$151 million USD|
|Construction Cost - Hilton Baltimore Convention Center Hotel||$301.7 million USD|
|Financing - Original (Eastern half)||$35 million USD, State General Obligation & Revenue Bonds||$15 million USD, The City of Baltimore|
|Financing - Expansion + Renovation (Expansion: Western half)||$101 million USD, State of Maryland - General Obligation & Revenue Bonds||$50 million USD, The City of Baltimore - Revenue Bonds|
|Financing - Hilton Baltimore Convention Center Hotel||$301.7 million USD, The City of Baltimore - Public Revenue Bonds|
|Architect - Original|| NBBJ Seattle, Washington ||Cochran, Stephenson & Donkervoet Baltimore, Maryland|
|Architect - Expansion||Loschky, Marquardt & Nesholm Seattle, Washington||Cochran, Stephenson & Donkervoet Baltimore, Maryland|
|Architect - Hilton Baltimore Convention Center Hotel||RTKL Associates Baltimore, Maryland|
|Construction Manager - Original||Whiting Turner Contracting Company Towson, Maryland|
|Construction Manager - Expanded||Gilbane Building Company Laurel, Maryland|
|Construction Manager - Hilton Baltimore Convention Center Hotel||Hensel Phelps Construction Co. Greeley, Colorado|
The Baltimore Convention Center is a convention and exhibition hall located in downtown Baltimore, Maryland. It is managed and operated by the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association, a semi-private association started in 1980 by former Baltimore mayor William Donald Schaefer. The facility was constructed in two separate phases: the original Center, with 425,000 square feet (39,500 m²) of exhibition and meeting space, opened in August 1979 at a cost of $51.4 million. A $151 mllion expansion, which increased the Center's total size to 1,225,000 square feet (113,800 m²), was completed in April 1997. Construction has begun on a convention center headquarters hotel (the Hilton Baltimore) directly across from the western-half of the Baltimore Convention Center that will be connected via an enclosed skywalk bridge. The hotel will have 752 rooms and a large amount of meeting space that event planners who have events in the Baltimore Convention Center can use for overflow space. The Hilton Baltimore hotel opened in August 2008.
During the next two decades, due in part to the success of the Convention Center and the other attractions, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards, M&T Bank Stadium, Power Plant Live!, and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African-American History, have joined the area, creating a ten-block plus entertainment and cultural destination at Baltimore's Inner Harbor, further increasing tourist dollars flowing into the region.
A June 2005 Greater Baltimore Committee report on tourism in Baltimore illustrates the importance of tourism in the current Baltimore region's economy:
Hospitality and tourism and the convention industry are vital components of the region’s economy. According to the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association (BACVA), spending from domestic travelers in 2002 was $8.476 billion statewide; $2.8 billion in Baltimore alone. This spending supported $719 million in state and local taxes while providing over 44,000 regional jobs.(Voices, 2005)
One convention that has been reported by the Baltimore Business Journal to have had a major economic impact in 2002-2005 for Baltimore is Otakon, a convention that focuses on Anime and other facets of East Asian culture. The convention has resided in the Baltimore Convention Center since 1999.
The Convention Center is also viewed as important to the recent development on Baltimore's West Side. According to Ronald M. Kreitner, executive director of West Side Renaissance Inc., the "Convention Center will help contribute to the success of the theatres and the retail," referring to the development of the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center/Hippodrome Theatre, as well as new retail ventures in the area. (Renaissance, 2003)
Thus some—most notably Baltimore's former Mayor and now Governor of Maryland Martin O'Malley—feel that a hotel adjacent to the Convention Center will make it a more appealing site for conventions. The completed construction of a new Washington Convention Center, as well as groundbreaking for the National Harbor project in Prince George's County, have intensified the debate.
In general, supporters of a convention hotel say that for the Convention Center to be viable in the future, and compete with other cities for conventions, a new, "Headquarters" hotel is necessary to guarantee enough rooms for group meetings. Opponents of the hotel project have either questioned the necessity of a new hotel altogether, or objected to the use of public dollars to finance the project.
The Baltimore Convention Center hotel broke ground in February 2006. The hotel's name is Hilton Baltimore, and it will be connected to the Convention Center. Baltimore City used public revenue bonds to cover the $301.7 million cost of building the hotel, which will have 752 rooms and will become the city's largest hotel. It is expected to open in August 2008.
(See Baltimore Convention Center Hotel Project for more details regarding the Convention Center hotel).