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Update on the proposed expansion of the Baltimore Convention Center

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This Baltimore Business Journal article provides an update on the proposed expansion to the Baltimore Convention Center, the update is the expansion will not occur due to the current cost estimate of expansion which is estimated to be more than $1.5 billion, much more than the previously announced estimate of $600 million:

https://www.bizjournals.com/baltimore/news/2020/02/04/baltimore-convention-center-expansion-plans-scaled.html

Plans for an upgrade to the Baltimore Convention Center are headed back to the drawing board after officials discovered an expansion would cost more than $1.5 billion to complete as envisioned.

The eye-popping price tag was driven upward by the projected costs of infrastructure work and acquisition of the privately owned Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel site, both of which figured in to a conceptualization of the center unveiled in 2018.

Board members for the Maryland Stadium Authority, the group tasked with providing independent analysis and cost estimates for the project, voted Tuesday to develop a new round of concept designs for the center, which are expected to be released by the end of 2020. The Baltimore City Convention Center Capital Improvement Reserve Fund will pay for the design work, which is projected to cost $400,000.

The focus will be on modernizing the convention center rather than expanding its footprint as widely as originally anticipated, Gary McGuigan, senior vice president of the stadium authority's capital projects development group, told board members. The request to scale back the project was made by Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young and a group of stakeholders including the Greater Baltimore Committee, Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, Baltimore Development Corp., Visit Baltimore and the convention center's leadership, stadium authority officials said.

A stadium authority market and economic study released in 2018 envisioned expanding the center to incorporate 400,000 contiguous square feet of exhibit space. A follow-up due diligence study found the addition would require space from the Sheraton Hotel site as well as the southbound lane of Charles Street.

When officials dug deeper into the costs of the project, they found the total added up to more than $1.5 billion, McGuigan said. That represents more than double a prior $600 million cost estimate. Infrastructure work on Charles Street alone would cost between $150 million to $160 million, he added, due to the vast network of utilities under the road's surface.

Tourism officials have repeatedly called on the city to move the project forward, citing a decline in convention business due to competition from neighboring cities with newer and larger facilities. Baltimore will lose its biggest booking, the Natural Products Expo East, to Philadelphia this year. Otakon, another event drawing thousands of participants and yielding millions of dollars in annual economic impact, left for Washington, D.C. in 2017.

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Thanks for the info!  So sad though, I was hoping Otakon might be going back to Baltimore sometime.  It was so much fun to have two vacations at the same time:  Otakon AND Baltimore's Inner Harbor.  Looks like that'll just be a dream now.  :(

    

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It's like the arena. The political stars will not align any time soon, not as long as the city has other, more pressing issues.

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This will never happen, and even if it does Otakorp will not take Otakon back to Baltimore... Stop giving people false hope.

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They might not get Otakon back, but maybe...just maybe...the BCC will be able to land some other anime convention.  I certainly wouldn't mind having another excuse to visit Charm City again.

Edited by Zeeba Neighba
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23 hours ago, GasparAKAShiggitay said:

This will never happen, and even if it does Otakorp will not take Otakon back to Baltimore... Stop giving people false hope.

They specifically didn't rule it out should BCC have the room for it. But that said, I doubt we'll see work being done there any time soon.

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On 2/5/2020 at 1:59 PM, GasparAKAShiggitay said:

This will never happen, and even if it does Otakorp will not take Otakon back to Baltimore... Stop giving people false hope.

I wouldn't say never, but it does seem like Otakorp's fear that the BCC renovation would interfere with Otakon is proving to be even worse than imagined.

"We're losing all our big convention contracts to other cities because the BCC isn't good enough!"  "Okay, so how about we fix it by doing nothing?"

Edited by DeathJester
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16 hours ago, DeathJester said:

I wouldn't say never, but it does seem like Otakorp's fear that the BCC renovation would interfere with Otakon is proving to be even worse than imagined.

"We're losing all our big convention contracts to other cities because the BCC isn't good enough!"  "Okay, so how about we fix it by doing nothing?"

lol that jab... and yeah I agree.. Baltimore isn't helping Otakorp wanting to move back there... I'd love for Otakon to move back, but I'm really starting to like DC. It's a more modern city and it's more appealing than Baltimore is now... #RIPMcKeldinFountain

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