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convention center

Baltimore Convention Center

Baltimore Convention Center
Facility Statistics
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.

History

As was the case with Harborplace, which opened in 1980; the Maryland Science Center, which opened in 1976; and the National Aquarium in Baltimore, which opened in 1981, the Convention Center was intended to be a catalyst for tourism, an important part of the City's post-manufacturing economic development plans. An Abell Foundation report in June, 2005 describes the Convention Center as having been "built as an economic development tool to attract to Baltimore conventions, trade shows, and meetings that would leave in the city millions of dollars spent on lodging, food, entertainment, and other services." (Controversy, 2005, p. 3) A report on economic development in the area, entitled Subsidizing the Low Road: Economic Development in Baltimore, states that "public and non-profit facilities such as the Maryland Science Center, the World Trade Center, the Convention Center, and the National Aquarium," (Subsidizing, 2002, p. 11) were part of then-mayor Schaefer's "focus on real estate, retailing and tourism sectors," (p. 10) as areas for growth, as well as his utilization of "'public/private partnerships' to pursue economic development." (p. 11)

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)

Convention Center Hotel and future of the Convention Center

However, despite the continuing growth and redevelopment in the area, the expanded Convention Center has not met expectations with respect to the number of conventions and people it attracts each year. Quoted in a 2004 Baltimore Sun article, Irene E. Van Sant, then-manager of the Convention Center Hotel Project for the Baltimore Development Corporation, remarked that the Convention Center "has not lived up to its potential. There are many reasons, but we believe a major reason is the lack of a convention hotel in close proximity." (Revive, 2005)

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).

Location

The Baltimore Convention Center is located within a superblock bounded by Charles Street, Pratt Street, Conway Street, and Howard Streets. The east and west halves of the Baltimore Convention Center are linked by an enclosed skywalk bridge over Sharp Street. The total land area of the Baltimore Convention Center is 608,968 sq ft (56,575 m²), or 13.980 acres and the total enclosed area is 400,000 sq ft (40,000 m²).

Address

1 West Pratt Street (corner of Pratt and S. Charles Street)
Baltimore, Maryland 21201

Maryland Transit Administration's light rail stop for the BCC

The west end of the facility—corner of Pratt and Howard Street—is served by the Pratt Street Light Rail Stop of the Maryland Transit Administration's light rail system, providing direct links to both BWI Airport and Baltimore Penn Station (MARC Penn Line and Amtrak Northeast Corridor trains).

Maryland Transit Administration's bus stop for the BCC

A major Maryland Transit Administration bus stop is located at the intersection of Pratt & Sharp Streets in front of the Baltimore Convention Center, near the western—half of the Baltimore Convention Center (Pratt Street Entrance).

Maryland Transit Administration's nearby MARC Rail stop for the BCC

The Camden Yards Light Rail Stop and Camden Line (MARC) station are also within walking distance of the facility.

Statistics

  • 1,224,943.2,000 sq ft (113,800 m²). total
  • 300,000 sq ft (25,000 m²). exhibit hall space
  • 85,000 sq ft (7,900 m²). meeting room space
  • 32,000 sq ft (3,000 m²). ballroom
  • 32 covered loading docks

Notes

References

External links

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