Construction Today 2018 - Volume 16, Issue 3 - 86
By Julian Anderson
Keeping up with
hat with any colleagues who have
recently returned from a conference and you'll likely hear anecdotes, restaurant recommendations
and the latest insider gossip. Face-to-face
networking, in such a concentrated way
with people who have common interests,
remains an incredibly effective and efficient
way of communication.
Judging by a report in the March 2018
issue of Trade Show Executive, an increasing
number of people share this view. From
December 2017 to January 2018, nationwide
trade show attendance grew by 1.4 percent.
Construction activity in the sector reflects
that trend. There are 25 convention centers
in North America currently in some phase
of construction, with 35 additional projects
in planning, financing or another pre-build
stage. Broken down by programming, designated meeting spaces in these centers are the
big gainers, up 30 percent in area over last
CONSTRUCTION-TODAY.COM VOLUME 16, ISSUE 3
year's numbers, with 1,640,807 square feet being added to existing
venues and 480,000 square feet of space in new construction.
Especially in the age of digital meeting technologies, this news
is encouraging. As people are communicating more electronically - video-conferencing is de rigueur in large organizations, with
approximately 450,000 systems installed in the U.S., and Skype alone
logs eight billion hours of calls each year - it's obvious that quality,
in-person time is viewed as valuable. The convention industry, especially facility owners/operators and host cities, should take advantage of this by keeping their properties in top condition.
A convention center can generate a significant amount of revenue
for a municipality, attributable to the facility rentals, but also the
expense-account dollars spent by visitors for dining, entertainment,
and shopping. In 2016, the San Diego Convention Center welcomed
824,000 attendees who directly spent $658 million in the city; the regional fiscal impact totaled $1.1 billion. Chicago's 2.6 million-squarefoot McCormick Place generates $1.7 billion annually.
Disrupt or Be Disrupted
There are clear benefits to all stakeholders to continue to pursue
opportunities and commit capital to the continued development
of convention centers. At the big-picture level, a new perspective