Wow, Indy Races Ahead in More Ways Than One Would Think

These days, news coming out of Indianapolis is speeding by faster than an Indy racecar. For instance, the Midwest city has recently announced that it has retained $1.3 million in convention business to date and added $1 billion worth of NEW convention business. Two, some groups are booked as far into the future as 2036 – 12 years from now. Could the new Indiana Convention Center expansion project have anything to do with this? You bet, especially since the city has recently completed its largest single-building concrete pour. (For the uninitiated, the city’s recent concrete pour completion featured more than 800 concrete trucks and delivered 7,347 cubic yards of concrete. That’s enough to fill two-and-a-half Olympic-sized swimming pools.) 

All this has had an immediate and astounding effect on the city’s appeal as a top-drawer destination. More specifically: Groups that will stay in Indy because of the new expansion include: Gen Con through 2030/70,000 attendees each August; FDIC International Tradeshow through 2032 /35,000 attendees each April; Drum Corp International through 2033/30,000 attendees each August; and National FFA through 2033/70,000 attendees each October.

Also, new groups that booked Indy because of the latest expansion include The National Educational Association in 2027, which had 9,000 attendees; Future Business Leaders of America in 2029, which had 13,000 attendees; the Alcoholic Anonymous International Convention in 2035, which had a $70 million economic impact; and two major medical associations (committed but not contracted yet) in 2033 and 2036, which had a $20 million economic impact.

Other amazing facts to consider: At the cost of $710 million, the Indianapolis Convention Center (ICC) expansion will: one, offer 90,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, including a 50,000-square-foot ballroom that will be one of the top 10 largest convention center ballrooms in the nation; and two, this sixth expansion of the Indiana Convention Center will have the capacity to host two citywide conventions at one time simultaneously securing its place as a stellar meeting and exhibition destination for all types of groups for years to come. 

Part of the ICC project will include a new hotel: the 38-story, 800-room Signia Hotel by Hilton, which will be connected to the center. What’s significant about that is that it will be the tallest hotel in the city and bring the number of rooms connected by climate-controlled skywalks to more than 5,500 guest rooms, more than any other city nationwide. Other features include various food and beverage outlets, a spa, a rooftop pool and fitness center, an outdoor deck, a lawn, and a lounge with all-day food and beverage offerings.

 Meanwhile, as construction speeds ahead, it is quite calm, and business is as usual. “Even at this stage in the project (the concrete pour), the Signia headquarters hotel and Indiana Convention Center expansion have given Indy a competitive edge with conventions renewing their commitment to stay in Indy while also attracting new tourism business,” said Chris Gahl,

executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Visit Indy. “This project also positions Indy as an ascending meeting destination, a city that is not sitting idle.” 

There will be other new hotels, too, and already underway are Indy, including InterContinental Hotel (opening this fall), Aloft Hotel (opening end of this year), Kimpton Hotel (opening 2025), and 21c Museum Hotel at Old City Hall (opening 2028).

So, Indianapolis has a lot of positive news and a lot to be proud of these days, as Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett recently confirmed: “As we celebrate this milestone feat in construction (the concrete pour), we are taking a huge step in solidifying Indianapolis as a top host city and the meeting capital of the world.” 

With an expected opening in the fall of 2026, upcoming meetings and conventions will continue to operate without disruption from the ongoing construction.

The last convention center expansion was completed in 2011 and built in conjunction with the JW Marriott. The current Indianapolis Convention Center expansion is a result of more than nine years of planning, including a three-year feasibility period that showed significant demand for the project and additional hotel rooms. 

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