Enhanced Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center Reopens As $1.1 Billion Expansion Continues

January 11, 2022

South Florida’s newly expanded Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center (GFLCC) is gearing up to grow even bigger, doubling the size of its original footprint by late 2025. 

Following a 20-month expansion and enhancement project that increased the 600,000-square-foot facility to 800,000 sq. ft., including a 350,000-sq.-ft. exhibit hall, the venue reopened its doors to event groups in October 2021. Broward County officials held a bond signing ceremony Dec. 17 to finalize funding needed to move forward with the remainder of the project, which will include a new eastside building featuring a host of state-of-the-art upgrades and amenities for meeting and convention groups. 

East Expansion Pre-Function space

The price tag of the entire project, which will grow the facility to 1.2 million sq. ft. and includes a new interconnected 800-room upscale headquarters hotel, rounds out at $1.1 billion. The next phase of the expansion is now moving ahead, while financing for the headquarters hotel is still in process. 

According to GFLCC officials, while the completed portion of the expansion had been planned long before the pandemic, the remainder of the project had been put on hold due to the pandemic and the resulting pause in financial negotiations.  







Expansion project highlights include:

Now Open:                          

  • 800,000 total sq. ft.
  • 350,000 sq. ft. of contiguous exhibit space
  • 2 ballrooms

2025 Completion:             

  • 1.2 million total sq. ft.
  • $600 million cost for convention center
  • Increase of 600,000 sq. ft. from original convention center footprint
  • Four ballrooms, including 65,000-sq.-ft. waterfront ballroom
  • 50 breakout rooms
  • Kitchen facilities
  • 215,000 sq. ft. of meeting space
  • 220,000 sq. ft. of flexible space
  • Five-acre waterfront plaza with three restaurants, an amphitheater and outdoor event space
  • An 800-room headquarters hotel with an additional 75,000 sq. ft. of meeting space
  • Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification

The first event to enjoy the facility’s new exhibit space was the indoor portion of the 62nd annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, the world’s largest in-water boat show held Oct. 27-31, 2021.  

Fort Lauderdale Intl. Boat Show

Exhibitors including Ray Jahn, president of Fish Tale Boats, expressed excitement about the expanded expo hall.

“The facility offered enhanced opportunities for us to display our full line of models, and customers were very happy to have this vital display hub back at the show,” Jahn said. “We’re excited for the completion of the expansion in 2025 and think the benefits for exhibitors and consumers will be world-class.”

According to Visit Lauderdale officials, the facility has many more events and trade shows on its schedule that are looking forward to taking advantage of the larger, upgraded space. 

“The convention center expansion with a new 65,000-sq.-ft. waterfront ballroom, along with our expanded exhibit hall and other new features, makes Greater Fort Lauderdale highly competitive in the national convention landscape,” said Stacy Ritter, president and CEO of Visit Lauderdale. “The expansion is key to our continuing evolution as an upscale, cosmopolitan and diverse tourism and meetings destination.”

The convention center expansion is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs and boost the Greater Fort Lauderdale economy by more than $200 million annually. 

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Partner Voices
Overview: The award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) goes the extra mile to make every day extraordinary by offering customer service excellence and industry-leading partnerships. From their dedicated in-house Rigging team to their robust Exhibitor Services, The Center of Hospitality brings your imagination to life by helping you host unforgettable meetings and events. With more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, world-class services and a dream destination, we are committed to making even the most ambitious conventions a reality. In October 2023, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve allocating Tourist Development Tax funding for the $560 million Phase 5A completion of the OCCC. The Convention Way Grand Concourse project will include enhancements to the North-South Building, featuring an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting space, an 80,000- square-foot ballroom and new entry to the North-South Building along Convention Way. “We are thrilled to begin work on completing our North-South Building which will allow us to meet the growing needs of our clients,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “As an economic driver for the community, this project will provide the Center with connectivity and meeting space to host more events and continue to infuse the local economy with new money and expanding business opportunities.” Amenities: The Center of Hospitality goes above and beyond by offering world-class customer service and industry-leading partnerships. From the largest convention center Wi-Fi network to custom LAN/WAN design, the Center takes pride in enhancing exhibitor and customer experience.  The OCCC is the exclusive provider of electricity (24-hour power at no additional cost), aerial rigging and lighting, water, natural gas and propane, compressed air, and cable TV services. Convenience The Center is at the epicenter of the destination, with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. Pedestrian bridges connect both buildings to more than 5,200 rooms and is within a 15-minute drive from the Orlando International Airport. The convenience of the location goes hand-in-hand with top notch service to help meet an event’s every need. Gold Key Members The OCCC’s Gold Key Members represent the best of the best when it comes to exceptional service and exclusive benefits for clients, exhibitors and guests. The Center’s Gold Key memberships with Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World greatly enhance meeting planner and attendee experiences offering world-renowned venues, immersive experiences and creative resources for their events. OCCC Events: This fiscal year, the OCCC is projected to host 168 events, 1.7 million attendees, and $2.9 billion in economic impact.  The Center’s top five events during their 2022-2023 fiscal year included:  AAU Jr. National Volleyball Championships 2023 200,000 Attendees $257 Million in Economic Impact MEGACON 2023 160,000 Attendees $205 Million in Economic Impact Open Championship Series 2023 69,500 Attendees $89 Million in Economic Impact Sunshine Classic 2023 42,000 Attendees $54 Million in Economic Impact Premiere Orlando 2023 42,000 Attendees $108 Million in Economic Impact