Major Venue Updates for Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale/Broward County

February 10, 2020

Two major convention venues in the Southeast U.S. have been expanding their event spaces to accommodate more trade show business. Here’s how things are developing with Atlanta’s Georgia World Congress Center and Florida’s Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center.

Georgia World Congress Center Completes Exhibit Hall BC

Georgia World Congress Center’s new $55 million Exhibit Hall BC project has been completed ahead of schedule and under budget. With the 100,000-square-foot expansion creating more than 1 million square feet of contiguous exhibition space, the GWCC’s total exhibit space now grosses more than 1.4 million sq. ft.

"International Production & Processing Expo, held Jan. 26-28, was the first convention to use the new exhibit hall."

As the GWCC’s first major expansion since 2002, Exhibit Hall BC is poised to make a quick return on investment, with more than 20 events already committed to using the new space and bookings stretching into 2030. This translates into approximately $20 million in rental revenue and the potential of drawing more than 600,000 attendees to the city, according to GWCCA officials

“The Congress Center’s expansion reaffirms its importance to Georgia’s economic growth and continued increase in tourism,” said State Senator Butch Miller, chairman of GWCCA’s legislative overview committee. “I applaud the Authority for completing this project ahead of schedule and under budget; it exemplifies its continued stewardship of the funds we’ve entrusted to them.”

As part of the Authority’s 2020 strategic plan, focused on reshaping the downtown Atlanta campus to draw in more event business and tourism, the Exhibit Hall BC expansion completion joins a $27 million capital improvement project at Centennial Olympic Park and the addition of a Signia by Hilton headquarter hotel that is set to break ground this spring. 

Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center Expansion

The Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center has launched a $1 billion expansion and headquarters hotel project that will grow the existing 600,000 sq. ft. South Florida facility to 1.2 million sq. ft.

Set to be fully underway by March 2 and completed in phases by mid 2023, the expansion will include 350,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space and 132,000 sq. ft. of ballroom space across four ballrooms, including a new 65,000 sq. ft. waterfront ballroom. Total meeting space will measure 215,000 sq. ft. with 50 breakout rooms, 220,000 sq. ft. of flexible space and a 6-acre outdoor waterfront plaza.

Fort Lauderdale

Slated for completion in 2023, the project’s new 800-room Omni headquarters hotel will feature a rooftop bar with waterfront views, multiple dining venues, 73,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, a spa and fitness center, and outdoor event space.

With the goal of achieving LEED Gold certification, the venue expansion and headquarters hotel will be the centerpiece of a convention center district enhancement project that will include outdoor event space, new dining concepts, shopping, arts and cultural attractions.

“Years of careful planning have brought us here, and we are celebrating the fact that this expansion will boost the local economy and create more than 1,000 new jobs,” said Broward County Mayor Dale Holness.

According to Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB officials, preliminary work on the demolition of the convention center’s surrounding structures kicked off in summer 2019; the facility will close at the end of February as major construction takes hold for the next 18 months. The convention center will open in phases with some meetings returning in late 2021, and the expanded exhibit hall and full completion is expected by mid 2023. 

Check out a video of the expansion project here.


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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