The Memphis Cook Convention Cente
r in Memphis, TN, is set to undergo a $175 million expansion and renovation. Located in downtown Memphis, the entire convention center will be updated with hotel quality finishes and modern amenities.
The design plan calls for utilizing and enhancing the existing facility, expanding its footprint with outdoor terraces and glass enclosed concourses and the addition of new breakout meeting rooms.
"This demonstrates our commitment and desire to be competitive in the meetings and conventions market," said Kevin Kane, president & CEO of the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau. "This transformation of our facility will aid us in sustaining and growing the tourism and hospitality industry's impressive annual economic impact."
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, a proponent of the project, said it will coincide with the city's bicentennial year. "Our administration is reinvesting in the core of our city like we haven't seen in many years. This is more than simply a renovation, this project will enhance the interior and exterior of the convention center in exciting new ways that take advantage of its location overlooking the Mississippi River."
Included in the project is a transformation of the existing 118,000-square-foot column-free exhibit hall. The west end of the main hall will be reconfigured to have the flexibility to be easily transformed into a 40,000-square-foot secondary ballroom. Retractable ceiling lights, upgraded wall finishes, permanent carpet, and a newly constructed exterior pre-function concourse overlooking the Mississippi River will also be added.
The expansion will bring the total number of highly flexible breakout rooms to 52, complementing an existing 28,000-square-foot ballroom.
The renovation will also see a new entrance added to the convention center. The entrance will be across from the 600-room Sheraton Memphis Downtown Hotel
as well as a transit station that connects to several downtown hotels. The Sheraton will also be connected to the convention center via a new sky bridge.
The 2,100-seat Cannon Center for the Performing Arts, which is connected to the convention center, will also see cosmetic and back-of-house upgrades as part of the renovation project.
Work on the project is set to kick off in March, with completion scheduled for the end of 2019.