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January 4, 2018

Major Renovation Planned for Memphis Convention Center

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The City of Memphis has officially filed a construction permit for a ground up transformation of the Memphis Cook Convention Center that will kick off in Q1 2018, and wrap up construction in Q4 2019. Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland announced plans for the project, pending City Council approval, to coincide with the city's bicentennial year as part of the Bicentennial Gateway

Located in downtown Memphis, every square inch of the convention center will be touched by this project. LRK of Memphis and tvsdesign have collaborated to develop a design plan that utilizes and enhances the existing facility. Their collective vision will expand the footprint of the building with outdoor terraces and glass enclosed concourses, prefunction and meetings spaces that embrace the river and skyline views, while adding valuable square footage that includes additional breakout meeting rooms. The project will allow the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau to pursue new meeting and convention opportunities, while also allowing shows taking place in the facility on an annual basis to grow with the expansion and renovation.

To accomplish this project that will incorporate public art, add digital wayfinding, create a sense of arrival within the parking structure, and include four additional bays for Main Exhibit Hall load in and load out, the City of Memphis has budgeted $175 million dollars in funds generated by the city's hotel lodging tax and Downtown Tourism Development Zone

Facility Fast Facts

  • The Memphis Cook Convention Center's column free Main Exhibit Hall, with more than 125,000 square feet, will incorporate retractable ceiling lights, upgraded wall finishes and a newly constructed exterior pre-function concourse overlooking the Mississippi River.
  • The expansion will bring the total number of flexible breakout rooms to 52, a secondary flex space will easily convert to a 40,000 sq. foot ballroom, in addition to an existing 28,000 sq. foot ballroom.
  • A new, spacious and modern grand entrance on the east side of the building, across from the Sheraton Hotel and a Main Street Trolley transit station that connects to several downtown hotels, is planned as part of the renovation and upgrades.
  • A new sky bridge across Main Street will connect the 600 room Sheraton Memphis Downtown Hotel to the convention center.
  • The 2,100 seat Cannon Center for the Performing Arts connected to the convention center will also see cosmetic and back of house upgrades as part of the renovation project.  
  • The expansion will also include a redesign of the loading docks for a total of five permanent docks that will accommodate five 18-wheelers to load in and load out for shows.
  • Underground parking entrances to the building will be greatly enhanced to provide a sense of arrival with a total of 900 spaces in the parking deck available to convention delegates and exhibitors.

The Memphis Meeting Planners Advisory Board, led by Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau Board Chairman Lani Glancy, worked to identify the necessary improvements for the project.

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