New Orleans Convention Center Plans Corporate Meetings Makeover

A plan to renovate the oldest portion of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans has finally moved forward, as the facility's board of directors has approved a request to move the plan from its initial design phase to the "construction document" phase, local newspaper the Times-Picayune reported last month.

The convention center scrapped plans to build a new addition to the convention center four years ago and instead decided to focus on renovating existing portions of the original facility — known as "Phase I," since it pre-dated two subsequent expansions — which was opened nearly 30 years ago for the purpose of hosting the 1984 World's Fair. It hosted its first convention in 1985 and has not been renovated since.

As they stand currently, plans call for spending $42 million to transform Hall A into a corporate meeting space, while also remodeling the convention center's main entrance in order to make it more inviting. It's hoped that remodeling Hall A will help New Orleans — already a major destination for associations — attract more corporate meeting groups.

Finally, the facility also intends to install a heating system in Halls A, B and C; although heating was previously left out because of New Orleans' moderate climate, the convention center hopes to expand wintertime bookings — of which there traditionally have been very few — which will make heating necessary for attendees' comfort.