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Benton Convention Center

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Discussions continue on updates to the Benton CC. Here's the list of recommendations from the consultants, that were jointly hired by the TDA and the City. These recommendations range from the short term to the longest term with the associated costs assigned. I would recommend that they go for getting all three segments underway. Hopefully, the funding can come from a variety of sources including a bond referendum.

In discussions this past Fall regarding the potential siting of the Forsyth County Central Library, the Forsyth County Tourism Development Authority suggested another potential future use of the Winston-Salem Journal’s parking lot off Fifth Street just west of the Benton. Rather than having the site become the home of the Library, the authority’s board recommended that the space be set aside for a possible expansion of the neighboring Benton Convention Center and Twin City Quarter hospitality complex. Board member Gayle Anderson said she envisions the Journal parking lot for a hotel as well as an expansion to the convention center. Anderson is president and chief executive of the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce.


Benton recommendations:

The top short-term recommendations are replacing the carpet, reconfiguring the South Main Street side of the top floor to yield more meeting room space, improving the streetscape around the building and adding more ceiling lighting befitting large ballroom settings. The costs associated with these improvements is $3.3 million.

Mid-range priorities are adding glazing and liner to the north and Cherry Street façades, removing the dividing wall between North Main and South Main ballrooms (creating a 30,000-square-foot space), installing a new public-address system, renovating concession stands and making some energy-efficiency moves with heating and windows for cost of $8.9 million .

For the long term, recommendations included a major renovation of the exterior, lowering the floor in the second-floor South exhibit area to match those in the North exhibit area and creating a more uniform design to meeting rooms which would cost $23.9 million in total.

Source: Crossroads Consulting Services LLC

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The WSJ reports that a contract for the $15.7 million renovation of the Benton Convention Center was awarded by the Winston-Salem City Council Monday night, with plans to later beef up the renovation by putting back some items cut because of costs. The renovations will modernize the interior appearance and functioning of the convention center and make some changes to the exterior of the building, primarily on the Fifth Street entrance, where an addition on that side will complement a redone entry and façade. Items likely to make it back into the plan include special lighting for sawtooth features on the roof of the Fifth Street addition, the placement of a trellis cover, glass railing and other enhancements for the Cherry Street terrace, and a restoration of the original concept for extending the Fifth Street improvements further down Cherry Street.

 

The project came in over budget by a couple of million dollars. Unfortunately, only one contractor bid for the work. Other general contractors contacted declined to bid due in large part to the aggressive timeline in getting all the work finished by May 1, 2017.

 

Benton Convention Center logo

 

Benton Convention Center proposal

 

Benton Convention Center proposal

 

 

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