Will the Austin Convention Center see an expansion soon?

Convention Center could get needed upgrade

One look at Austin's skyline and you can see it changing by the minute.The city is moving forward. But, certain businesses seems to be lagging.

The Convention Center is Austin's third largest employer. City leaders opened its doors in 1992 with over 200,000 square feet of space and remodeling began a few years later. But is it time for another upgrade?

John Bernadoni thinks so.

Bernadoni is a part of a coalition that supports expanding the Convention Center.

"When we think about the Convention Center, we think 'conventions, yeah, well, boring.' But when these people go back home and go back to their places of business they are talking about Austin," Bernadoni said.

The proposed plan is to expand the Convention Center with a little over  447,000 square feet of exhibition space in addition to more than 200,000 square feet of meeting and ballroom space.

Bernadoni says the lack of space and availability is causing the city to lose money and future conventions.

"Dell World is going to Las Vegas, that's a pretty big one to lose, and other ones are going to San Antonio, Dallas, Houston," Bernadoni explained.

But moving these plans forward won't be an easy task. If the expansion is approved, council members will vote on who will pay for it -- the voters or the city. With either option, there will not be ay increases to local property taxes.

If the Convention Center does expand, city leaders say that taxpayers will save a little over $1,000 per year because the city would make up the difference in the tourism market.

The visitor impact task force meets again on April 25. The task force is making a recommendation to city council after the task force commences in May.

For more information on convention center plans, click here

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