- Phoenix Convention Center
The 24 acre Phoenix Convention Center, in the heart of
Copper Square, has been hosting national and regional conventionsand trade showsas well as consumer events and theatrical productions since it opened in 1972. And, as Phoenix has undergone tremendous growth through the years by attracting high-technology businesses, transplants from other states, and an increase in tourism, so has Phoenix Convention Center.
The concept for a performing arts auditorium developed as early as 1959. At that time, cultural and theatrical events were being held in outdated high school auditoriums. It was determined that the Phoenix metropolitan area would benefit, not only from having an entertainment facility, but also from a facility that could accommodate regional and national convention business.
A citizens group was formed in the early 60's to study the development of a convention center and the idea for Phoenix Civic Plaza became reality. In 1963, in order to finance construction, the non-profit Phoenix Civic Plaza Building Corporation was created. On April 15, 1969, the city of Phoenix and Phoenix Civic Plaza Building Corporation signed legal agreements for the initial construction of the convention center.
The Phoenix Civic Plaza Department was created in November 1969 to oversee the operational aspects of the construction, purchase equipment and hire and train staff. Construction of Phoenix Civic Plaza began the same year and was completed in 1972 at a cost of $28 million and occupying convert|16.5|acre|m2. The original project included
Phoenix Symphony Hall, which opened at the same time.
Six years later, the demand for additional space created a need for expansion. During that time, several conventions were bumped because of previous commitments and conflicting dates. When construction was completed in 1985, Phoenix Civic Plaza had more than doubled its available space to over convert|300000|sqft|m2.
In the mid-90s Phoenix Convention Center embarked on an ambitious $32 million renovation project to update and enhance its image and keep the facility competitive for convention and trade show business.
Currently in the throes of a massive $600 million expansion project, the new Phoenix Convention Center will nearly triple in size to become one of the top 20 convention venues in North America.
The design of the new convention center aims to reference the unique
Arizonalandscape. Steel canopies extend over third Street to create shade. The large glass and stone atriumin the West Building represents the unique angles and light of an Arizona slot canyon. Colors, textures and finishes capture the warm hues of the Sonoran Desertand the cool tones of an Arizona desert sky.
The Convention Center will be served by METRO Rail's Washington at 3rd Street station when service commences on
26 December 2008.
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