After more than a decade of planning, the Oklahoma City convention center is complete.
An almost $300 million project geared toward drawing crowds to Oklahoma City is now complete. Officials said this convention center will be a turning point for the local economy.
“It's a great feeling to be standing here in this building today being able to have events regardless of the situation that we're in right now,” MAPS program manager David Todd said.
This new space is more than double the size of the Cox Convention Center and is meant to bring in bigger attractions.
“I think what you're seeing is the city moving into the next tier of conventions. Cox Center served us well for many years, but its antiquated and it's small,” Todd said.
The 500,000 square foot interior will include several exhibit halls, ballrooms and meetings spaces equipped to fit thousands of people from all over.
"Say we bring 1,000 people to the building. These are out of town visitors, so they come and bring their dollars and then they go home. They don't consume city services for a long period of time. So, their dollar is a benefit of taxes," Al Rojas, the center's general manager, said.
Rojas said this project will be a huge economy impact to the city felt throughout the community. Aside from tourism, this project is bringing hundreds of jobs to the city.
“We'll have part-time people that will work event-related activities whether it's in food and beverage building services. There's housekeeping that needs to be done,” Rojas said.
Due to COVID-19, things aren't as busy as Rojas hoped, but he said he's hopeful that will change in the new year.
As things happened with either the vaccine or going forward, meeting planners are ready to get out.
The first event will be here in the next couple of weeks.