Without a highly functioning convention center and headquarters hotel, there is about a $41 million annual hole in Cincinnati’s economy.

Over the last nine years, the city lost out on 52 conventions per year. Their organizers cited a lack of convention center assets or a substandard or nonexistent headquarters hotel, according to Visit Cincy, the region’s convention and visitors bureau.

Along with Cincinnati Center City Development Corp., which is overseeing the overhaul, they unveiled the latest renderings for the project.

What it will deliver

Visit Cincy CEO Julie Calvert, noted once both the convention center and new, 800-room headquarters hotel project are done (the HQ hotel is estimated to be complete by 2027), more than 90,000 square feet of new space will have been added. There will be 80,000 square feet of additional meeting space in the hotel, and 13,000 square feet in the new convention center. The city’s convention assets will be able to hold two major pieces of business at the same time.

Moody Nolan’s convention center project manager, Eric Elizondo, said to come up with the theme of its design, the firm studied Cincinnati’s history.

“Our design team was trying to get an understanding not only of the topography but how the city developed,” he said. “They took a good amount of time researching what made Cincinnati Cincinnati. They were very interested in what makes a place a place.”

The boxy design of today’s convention center leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to natural light, with 3CDC Development Director Katie Westbrook describing it as a “closed-in, dark building.” Along with modern lighting, that will be fixed in the overhauled center.

“When you walk in that front door … it doesn’t feel open at all. The mezzanine is low. You don’t feel like you’re in a grand space at all,” Elizondo said.

“We want everyone to walk in this building and go, ‘Wow.’ No one is going to recognize it – inside and out.”


#cincinnati #nky #dukeenergy #conventioncenter #overhaul #design #3CDC #economy #impact #visitcincy #tourism #conventions #events #hotel