AUSTIN, Texas — The City of Austin is doubling the amount of rentable space in the Austin Convention Center by way of a $1.6 billion project set to begin in 2025.
Beginning Monday, May 22, the city is seeking a qualified professional design and engineering firm to partake in the expansion through Request For Qualifications (RFQ) solicitations.
What You Need To Know
- The current convention center has nearly 376,000 square feet of rentable space. Expansion plans will nearly double that
- The project plans estimate that building closure, demolition and construction will start in 2025, with the newly remodeled building complete by 2029
- This expansion is fully funded by the convention center’s revenues and its allocation from the municipal Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT)
- A one-phase building concept and approach model will be used for the construction project in effort to minimize the impact on the community
This kicks off the design stage of the project that has been in the works for several years to meet the demands of larger conventions and meeting groups who want to come to Austin. The current convention center has nearly 376,000 square feet of rentable space. Expansion plans will nearly double that.
“This is an important day for the City of Austin. Releasing the RFQ for the design is the first of many steps, but is a vital one for our city’s future. An expanded convention center has been a topic of conversation for years and, as we continue to become a focal point in the world, we have to accommodate a large number of events,” said Austin Mayor Kirk Watson. “With an inadequate convention center, we lose out to competitors and, consequently miss out on millions of dollars for our Austin community. With a bigger convention center, the economic impact to our city is estimated to jump to over $750 million annually, from the current $468 million. A larger facility also means more travelers to Austin and jobs in the Austin hospitality industry.”
The current project plans estimate that building closure, demolition and construction will start in 2025, with the newly remodeled building complete by 2029. This expansion is fully funded by the convention center’s revenues and its allocation from the municipal Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT).
“To give the community, visitors, and attendees the true authentic Austin experience, we want the new Austin Convention Center to be an iconic, innovative, and symbolic meeting location,” said Director Austin Convention Center Department’s Trisha Tatro. “Along with providing more rentable space, we want a signature design that will provide state-of-the-art technologies and be an industry-leading facility that is ready to exceed future clients’ needs.”
A one-phase building concept and approach model will be used for the construction project in effort to minimize the impact on the community.
“Austin is blessed to have one of the liveliest urban cores in any American city that isn’t on a coast, but our convention center is outdated, undersized, and a barrier in the southeastern corner of Downtown,” said Austin City Council member Zohaib Qadri. “The vision to transform this space into a community-centric destination for visitors and residents alike while also re-stitching the grid is an exciting prospect for many reasons, not least of which is the fact that it could lead to new opportunities for a lot more affordable housing in the heart of District 9.”
The project is estimated to bring an additional $282 million of economic impact to the city.
“Over the past decade, this project has been evaluated through many studies, including one from the University of Texas. All of the studies supported an expansion,” said Mayor Watson. “This is a big win for the City of Austin and its residents since this project is being funded by visitors who stay in hotels, and the funding is not coming out of our residents’ property taxes.”