After a decade of planning, the Wilmington Convention Center officially opened on Nov. 15 in downtown Wilmington, N.C., according to local media reports.
The largest convention center on North Carolina's coast, the new facility features over 63,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, including a 12,000-square-foot grand ballroom, a 30,000-square-foot exhibit hall, 5,784 square feet of meeting space, 12,000 square feet of outdoor event space and over 15,000 square feet of pre-function space.
"We're just glad it's all come to fruition for the city of Wilmington," General Manager Susan Eaton told local TV news station WWAY.
The convention center's first event was the Cape Fear Wedding Show, and approximately 60 other events already are scheduled at the facility during the next two years.
Eventually, city officials hope, the convention center will be paired with a new headquarters hotel. Although two previous deals for hotels already have fallen through, the city remains committed to the project.
"We think that it's not a question of if, but when," Mayor Bill Saffro told local TV news station WECT. "We have a great piece of property, a great location with a great convention center, and we feel that we'll have [a hotel] in the near future."