It is perhaps fitting that a convention center inspired by one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World has been selected by a national business magazine as one of the seven best convention centers in the United States.
The Phoenix Convention Center comes in at No. 7 on a list of the “Top Ten U.S. Convention Centers” in the April issue of Business Review USA.
The article ranks the “best of the best” among the nation’s “modern, immense and historically rich convention centers.” Its assessment of the Phoenix Convention Center states:
Downtown Phoenix’s convention center is a true multi-functional space. It hosts everything from national and regional conventions to consumer events and theatrical productions, and has attracted increasing amounts of tourism and financial support to the city since it opened in 1972. A recent expansion tripled the center’s size and further enhanced its regional aesthetics.
Five years and $650 million in the making, the expanded Phoenix Convention Center welcomed its first meeting groups in January 2009. Its architecture—dramatic angles, towering glass, earthy stone—is inspired by the colors and textures of the Grand Canyon, and its nearly 900,000 square feet of flexible exhibition and meeting space can accommodate more than 80 percent of the conventions in the U.S.
Since the debut of the fully expanded center, it has hosted nearly 800,000 delegates and generated more than $1 billion in direct spending for Phoenix’s regional economy.
The new convention center’s presence has helped the city host the Super Bowl, NBA All-Star Weekend, and Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game. Large conventions that have met at the center include the National Rifle Association’s Annual Meeting and Exhibits, the VFW Annual National Convention, the U.S. Green Building Council Annual Conference and Expo, the Benevolent & Protective Order of the Elks Annual Meeting, and the General Council of the Assemblies of God.
“The new convention center has been a game changer for Phoenix in the truest sense,” said Steve Moore, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Its size has allowed us to pursue business we simply couldn’t accommodate before, and its beauty and practicality have made that business want to come back.”
Included within the Phoenix Convention Center’s striking environs are three ballrooms (two at street level), 99 meeting rooms, an IACC-certified Executive Conference Center and $3.2 million worth of public art.
Thoughtful touches include air-conditioned loading bays, exhibit halls with pre-scored floors, an adjoining performance hall that seats 2,400, and outdoor meeting areas that capitalize on Phoenix’s sunny weather. The convention center’s catering staff can feed 360 people every eight minutes, and its bright and airy food court features five themed eateries.
The article in Business Review USA’s digital issue includes a video that highlights the Phoenix Convention Center’s green features. The campus’ newest buildings were designed with energy efficiency in mind, and its sustainability program encompasses recycling, solar power and water harvesting. The convention center’s commitment to environmental sensibility helped the conference center earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.