Baltimore Mulls Convention Center Expansion, Arena

The Baltimore Convention Center is out of room, and has been for quite some time. To meet pent up demand for more meeting space, city leaders for years have been debating the idea of a convention center expansion. Now, that idea appears to finally be moving forward, according to local newspaper The Baltimore Sun, which reported last week that the Maryland Stadium Authority has approved a team to conduct a feasibility study.

"The current building has been operating at practically maximum capacity for many years and demand exists within the meetings marketplace for a renovated and or expanded building in Baltimore," Amy Calvert, senior vice president of convention sales and services for Visit Baltimore, told The Baltimore Sun last summer, when the idea of a feasibility study was first floated.

Conducted by design and construction firms Ayers Saint Gross, LMN Architects, Clark Construction, Populous, and Perkins Eastman, the $460,000 study will examine three separate proposals -- one for a convention center expansion, one for a convention hotel, and one for a new arena to replace the existing Royal Farms Arena -- and assess what combination of them is feasible for the city. It will focus on traffic and community and environmental impacts; a second study eventually will be needed to look at construction costs and timelines.

The Baltimore Convention Center, which was last expanded in 1997, currently totals 1.2 million square feet. The most recent proposal under consideration by city officials called for a 760,000-square-foot convention center expansion, as well as construction of a 500-room hotel and an 18,500-seat arena.

Up your meetings-industry IQ. Check out the latest edition of 30 Seconds to Smart!