Convention Centers: Onward & Upward

Building and expanding just seems part of the American way of doing things. One could say it comes naturally to us, that it is in our DNA. Well, perhaps, this is truer in the great meetings and events industry than any other. Despite all of the contemporary setbacks it’s had since the start of the 21st Century, it just gets up, brushes its boots off, and moves on with business, as we all know. 

Planners and managers agree the industry has been tested time and again, and, no matter what, it always scores highly in the bounce-back category. Evidence of this can be gleaned from the high degree of confidence reflected in major cities across the U.S. right now. In relation to their convention centers, most are doing one of three things: planning expansion, in the midst of expansion, or celebrating the completion of their latest expansion project. (For example, see Facilities & Destination’s upcoming Spring 2024 issue on Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center to name just one.)

One of them is America’s Center. Located in St. Louis, Wisconsin, a major metropolis that attracts foodies, beer lovers, and sports fans (their words, not mine), St. Louis also does an exceptionally good job at attracting corporate and convention groups too. All groups. All sizes. Accordingly, the center is about to complete a multi-million project that includes a welcoming outdoor pavilion – one that adds a little extra pizazz to its already bustling downtown district, an additional 72,000-square-foot exhibit hall, a doubling of the current number of loading docks (and the complete renovation of the existing docks), refurbishment of the main entrance that welcomes thousands of visitors every year, and a whole lot more to enhance the overall attendee experience and guarantee a meeting and event planner’s high expectations.  

Now that the project, sometimes referred to as AC Next Gen, is almost completed, the expanded convention center has already attracted some groups that were on the fence a bit. Recently David Duncan, chief sales officer for Explore St. Louis, was quoted as saying that three groups considering the facility indicated that the additional exhibit hall has been a key factor in their decision, as well as the increased number and enclosure of the facility’s loading docks. “The value the three groups will bring is approximately 117,000 room nights, impacting America’s Center business from 2026 to 2029,” he said.

With nearly $10 billion in new tourism development in the downtown district, there’s never been a better time to meet St. Louis. And, to reintroduce planners and organizers to St. Louis, the destination is offering an exciting opportunity for new group bookings that take place from 2024 through 2027 – if you book by June 30, 2024. Contact Dave Duncan via email: [email protected] or call 314-992-0622.

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