Columbia Officials "Explore" Convention Center Expansion

Today's a year of convention center expansions. Nashville, New York City, then Des Moines—could Columbia, South Carolina, be next?

Officials at the 24,700-square-foot Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center are considering a study to look into expansion, according to The State.

"If (the study shows) we would get more business by expanding, we would consider it," John Durst, chairman of the Midlands Authority for Conventions, Sports & Tourism, which governs the center, told the publication. "But it’s clearly exploratory right now."

Despite the convention center's size, which pales in comparison to competitors such as the 315,000-square-foot Carolina First Center in Greenville and 280,000-square-foot Charlotte Convention Center, it has pulled in some big business. In 2008, revenues peaked at $1.4 million, following by a record high of $1.62 million at the end of of fiscal year 2009.

However, it will be a challenge to convince all the Midlands-area counties, which include Columbia, Richland County, Lexington County, Cayce and West Columbia, that financing an expansion will be beneficial to all areas of the region.
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