Spokane Convention Center Unveils $55 Million Expansion
The Spokane (Wash.) Convention Center finished its $55-million expansion in late February, adding 91,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space.
Now, the facility overlooking the Spokane River features 120,000 sq. ft. exhibit hall, as well as additional ballroom and up to 32 meeting rooms. Most of the new space features either second-level or ground-level views of the river thanks to a completely glass north side.
"The physical difference in the Convention Center is, itself, exciting," said Keith Backsen, Visit Spokane vice president of sales and services. "What we're really happy about is being able to share this important new chapter in Spokane's story with meeting planners and groups who we may not have been able to reach before."
The expansion takes full advantage of the riverfront location, offering meeting space with floor-to-ceiling windows and lots of natural light. The riverbank was also transformed with landscaping featuring native plants and nature-friendly habitats that are getting a nod from the local environmental groups.
“The facility is beautiful and it takes great advantage of the proximity to our beautiful river," Backsen said. "We are confident that planners will be very impressed with what we now have to offer."
The expansion maintains the convention center’s Silver LEED certification.
Currently, the convention center is adjacent to 384-room Double Tree Spokane City Center hotel, but by June it also will be connected by a skywalk to a brand new 716-room Marriott.
Local authorities hope that the expansion will allow the facility to compete for larger meetings and conventions particularly in the categories of science, education, engineering, hobby and religion.
First feedback from client has been very positive. Spokane Ag Expo, which recently wrapped up its annual event at the convention center, was pleased to be able to bring it under one roof.
“The Ag Expo filled every inch of space in the expanded convention center,” Backsen said. “They were even able to expand their show to maximum capacity. They were very, very pleased and, of course, so are we!"
Other favorable comments highlight the fact that the north side of the convention center is all glass and looks out over the Spokane River. The natural light, the huge number of breakout rooms, the adjacency to the Spokane River, these all are some of the very positive comments we've heard, Backsen said.