The city of Charlotte’s new Charlotte Convention Center expansion opened this week after nearly two years of construction. The $126.9 expansion was welcomed by the city of Charlotte and the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA).

The new center broke ground in December of 2019 with meeting planners in mind, and increased capacity, accessibility, and spaces throughout the center.

“The expansion construction presented several unique challenges. The design required expanding the building upward – adding meeting and event space onto the existing roof – which it was not built to accommodate when originally constructed more than 25 years ago,” the CRVA said. “The venue is also one of only two convention centers in the country that has a light rail line running through it. Those two factors alone required extraordinary skill, coordination and planning. Then, the onset of the pandemic just a few months into the project created a working environment that no one could have anticipated nor prepared for, yet work progressed with robust health-conscious safety protocols in place ensuring that the construction timeline remained on track.”

The expansion added around 50,000 square feet of meeting room and pre-function space — in the 600,000 square foot venue. The meeting rooms increased from 41 to 55, including two 10,000-square foot spaces.

“After years of research, planning and construction, we are thrilled to finally celebrate the completion of this $126.9 million expansion and open the doors to the newest part of the Charlotte Convention Center,” said Murray. “As the trusted steward of the Charlotte region’s visitor economy, the CRVA is incredibly proud of this milestone and the role it will play in attracting impactful business, increasing economic vitality and solidifying Charlotte’s reputation as one of the premier meetings destinations in the Southeast.”

The expansion includes an exterior pedestrian walkway over the street, which connects the Charlotte Convention Center to the Westin Charlotte and a light rail stop.

The Charlotte Convention Center opened in 1995 and has held thousands of events for more than 11 million guests.

“The Center has played host to six U.S. presidents, served as a backdrop for three movies and one television show, and has had boats, cars, helicopters and even cattle on display in its exhibit halls,” the CRVA said. “It has earned business from prestigious national events such as the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend, a driver of $87.7 million in economic impact for the region.”

Meetings and events held in 2019 brought more than 550,000 visitors, around 557,000 room nights, and $255.1 million in direct visitor spending in area businesses.

Photo credit: CRVA