OKC City Council Approves More Funding For Convention Center

Wednesday, November 5th 2014, 7:40 pm
By: News 9

The new convention center Oklahoma City is building as part of MAPS 3 is going to be bigger than originally planned.

The city council approved a nearly 20 percent increase in the project's scope on Tuesday and, of course, that increase comes with a price tag.

This was already the most expensive of all the MAPS 3 projects, most expensive project in the 20-year history of MAPS, and not every member of council is behind it. This latest change was not approved unanimously, but by a vote of 6-2.

Still, that majority agreed with a subcommittee recommendation to add 40,000 square feet of exhibit space and 5,000 square feet of meeting space, for a new total gross square footage of 550,000 square feet.

This expansion is expected to take the project's cost from $252 million to $287 million. City leaders say the extra $35 million will come from a MAPS infrastructure fund and contingency fund.

The changes are easy to make because the project is still very much in the conceptual stage. We do know the convention center will sit just west of the Chesapeake Arena, between the Myriad Gardens and the city's new park, and is likely to include a separately financed 700-plus-room headquarters hotel.

Oklahoma City convention industry officials say the project remains on track for a mid-2016 groundbreaking, with completion sometime in 2019.