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Showtime in Market East: Newly expanded Convention Center is officially open for business

It's hard to believe that the $787 million expansion of Center City's Pennsylvania Convention Center has only been moving forward for a little over three years now. But on March 4, one of modern-day Philadelphia's most monumental economic growth facilitators will officially open for business with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. And on March 9, when the International Flower Show kicks off inside the Convention Center's existing building, the 3,000 attendees of the NASPA convention will be simultaneously holding court inside the building's newly expanded section.

In other words, two events that will almost certainly encourage serious economic activity here will be taking place inside the Convention Center at the same time next week. The expansion, it's worth noting, has increased the size of the PCC by 62 percent; it now clocks in at a jaw-dropping 1 million square feet, and it's expected to have over $140 million in economic impact annually.  

After all, as Jack Ferguson, CEO of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, says, "The Pennsylvania Convention Center is the hospitality economic engine that drives Philadelphia. Now with this world-class venue, an expanded center is generating a greater buzz about Philadelphia as a destination throughout the nation. This will attract more events, meetings, conventions, tradeshows and businesses to want to invest here."

As Ferguson rightly points out, an economic upper-hand isn't the only important aspect of the expansion story; there are also the substantial bragging rights. The new center, for instance, will be home to the largest ballroom in the Northeast corridor (55,400 square feet), as well as 528,000 square feet of contiguous exhibition space. Of course, words alone can't really do justice to the new Broad Street Atrium, or the multi-story glass entrance that will greet visitors at the building's Broad Street entrance. Click here and here to experience them yourself, online. 

Source: Liz Sullivan, Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau
Writer: Dan Eldridge

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