The team behind the Sharonville Convention Center expansion is ready to move forward with the final two stages of design development. The project is slated to begin construction in early 2020.
The current design is changed from the original to include additional back-of-house spaces for more storage, food preparation and service work. The expansion will include 20,000-square feet of exhibit space.
Commissioners are slated to vote next week to approve a $557,000 grant funding phases three and four. Convention Center Executive Director Jim Downton says that includes final design decisions.
"You're looking at identifying fit and finishings, equipment and so forth to really make sure from a budgetary standpoint we're spot on our budget."
The projected cost is $16.5 million, up from $10.5 million. Downton says that reflects the back-of-house changes, including a full kitchen, additional restrooms, a permanent ticket box office, a first aid room and a restaurant.
"People really want a quality product, somewhere where they can sit down at one of our shows, enjoy something to eat and go back out," he says "I did a little research of some other convention centers in the United States and the ones that do have a restaurant on site of the exhibit hall really do drive food and beverage revenue even greater."
Downton says the goal is to have the designs complete by the end of December so construction can begin in 2020.
Funding comes from the county's transient occupancy tax, also called the hotel tax.