Walter E. Washington Convention Center

The Walter E. Washington Convention Center at Mount Vernon Square

The Walter E. Washington Convention Center is a 2,300,000-square-foot (210,000 m2) convention center located in Washington, D.C. owned and operated by the Washington Convention and Sports Authority (WCSA). Designed by Atlanta-based architecture firm Thompson, Ventulett, Stainback & Associates, the convention center is located in a superblock bounded by Mount Vernon Square and 7th, 9th, and N streets, N.W. It is served by the Mount Vernon Square station on the Yellow and Green lines of the Washington Metro. It was completed in 2003.


Major events

Six of the nine official inaugural balls for the 2005 second inauguration of George W. Bush were held at the convention center.[1]

In 2006, the Council of the District of Columbia approved legislation naming the then-Washington Convention Center in honor of the city's first home rule mayor, the late Walter E. Washington.[2] In 2008, the WCSA Board of Directors agreed to expand the newly built convention center by 75,000 square feet (7,000 m2).[3]

Six of the 10 official balls of the 2009 Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama took place there, including the first-ever Neighborhood Ball.[4]

The Center served as the principal site of the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit hosted by President Barack Obama.[5]

On November 10, 2011, ground was broken on the 14-story Washington Marriott Marquis, a $520 million, four-star, 1,175-room "convention center headquarters hotel" with more than 100,000 square feet (9,300 m2) of meeting room space.[6]

The old Washington Convention Center

The previous Washington Convention Center was located one block southwest at 909 H Street NW, occupying the city block bounded by New York Avenue, 9th Street, H Street, and 11th Street.[7] Construction on the center began in 1980, and it opened on December 10, 1982.[8] At 800,000 square feet (74,000 m2), it was the fourth largest facility in the United States at the time. However, during the 1980s and 1990s, numerous larger and more modern facilities were constructed around the country, and by 1997 the Washington Convention Center had become the 30th largest facility.[9]

After being replaced by the new Walter E. Washington Convention Center, the old convention center was imploded at approximately 7:30 a.m. on December 18, 2004.[10] Until 2011, the 10-acre (40,000 m2) site was a municipal parking lot that was also used as the intercity bus terminal for Megabus and BoltBus. The site was also used for special events such as Cirque Du Soleil and the home of the Washington Kastles Stadium.[7] However, construction of a new $950 million complex called CityCenterDC on the site began in March 2011.[11]


  1. ^ "Actors, Musicians to Entertain Thousands." Associated Press. January 13, 2005; Weeks, Linton. "Dashing and Dancing." Washington Post. January 21, 2005.
  2. ^ Stewart, Nikita. "Renaming Would Honor 1st Home-Rule Mayor." Washington Post. November 29, 2006.
  3. ^ Samuelson, Ruth. "$10 Million Expansion Planned for Washington Convention Center." Washington City Paper. December 8, 2008. Accessed 2011-09-02; "Walter E. Washington Convention Center Plans $10M Expansion." Washington Business Journal. December 5, 2008. Accessed 2011-09-02.
  4. ^ Amy, Leaman (2009-01-05). "Obama to Host Virtual Ball". Washingtonian Magazine. Retrieved 2009-05-04. ; "Obama adds 'Neighborhood Ball' for D.C. residents". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 2009-01-05. Retrieved 2009-05-04. 
  5. ^ Halsey III, Ashley; Ruane, Michael E.; Shaver, Katherine (April 8, 2010). "Nuclear Security Summit Promises Gridlock for Downtown D.C.". Washington Post. Retrieved April 12, 2010. ; Brown, Emma (April 12, 2010). "Downtown Area Prepares to Cope with Disruptions from Summit". Washington Post. Retrieved April 12, 2010. ; Thomson, Robert (April 12, 2010). "The Week Ahead for Traffic, Transit". Washington Post. Retrieved April 12, 2010. 
  6. ^ Kravitz, Derek. "Convention Center Hotel Begins to See Light of Day." Washington Post. November 11, 2010; O'Connell, Jonathan. "Deal Reached on Convention Center Hotel." Washington Post. July 7, 2010.
  7. ^ a b Old Washington Convention Center Site, City Guide, Retrieved May 9, 2007
  8. ^ Pianin, Eric. "Gala Debut Is Set For Long-Awaited Convention Center." Washington Post. December 10, 1982.
  9. ^ A History of the Washington Convention Center Washington Convention Center website, Retrieved April 13, 2010
  10. ^ Old Convention Center Imploded, Retrieved May 9, 2007
  11. ^ Howell, Tom. "CityCenterDC a 'Piece of the Puzzle' Downtown." Washington Times. April 5, 2011.

External links

Coordinates: 38°54′18″N 77°01′23″W / 38.9051°N 77.023°W / 38.9051; -77.023

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