Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

James Owen

Mayor proposes New Convention Center/Cook Convention Center Expansion

14 posts in this topic

Mayor Herenton wants to explore the idea of either expanding the current Cook Convention Center or building a new larger convention center downtown that would be in proximity to Beale Street/FedExForum, though he didn't provide specifics as to where it might be built. The articles tell the story: MBJ; CA; Memphis Flyer.

I, personally, think it's good that our mayor is exploring this idea, as this could mean more money being pumped into the downtown economy, and much better competition with other larger cities with large convention centers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


I think expanding the current convention center is the best alternative. If the city was to build a arger convention center close to Fedex Forum and such, the current convention center would become obsolete and the north side of downtown would loose a lot of its appeal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The benefits of a mill-plus square-foot cc have been challenged for a while, with a number of new cc's being built, but not a concomitant number of huge conventions to fill the space.

however, if they were to expand, to maybe 500 thou or 750 thou, then my suggestion would be to expand south, take over the government complex and relocate that to the parking lot across from the CJC. I think it's a huge mistake to have built the new performing arts center as an annex to the cc, but I'm sure they had their reasons. That may prevent expansion possibilities in that direction.

It's hard to see it expanding west, although Ericson made allusions to that. North may be an idea as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The benefits of a mill-plus square-foot cc have been challenged for a while, with a number of new cc's being built, but not a concomitant number of huge conventions to fill the space.

however, if they were to expand, to maybe 500 thou or 750 thou, then my suggestion would be to expand south, take over the government complex and relocate that to the parking lot across from the CJC. I think it's a huge mistake to have built the new performing arts center as an annex to the cc, but I'm sure they had their reasons. That may prevent expansion possibilities in that direction.

It's hard to see it expanding west, although Ericson made allusions to that. North may be an idea as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In one of the articles about the announcement the Mayor claimed what a great investment the expansion was. He even went as far as to say convention centers pay for themselves. Do they? For another look at convention centers read The Convention Center Shell Game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is one of the few ideas that I agree with Mayor Herenton about. The Convention Center is definitely a worthwhile investment, would it be possible to build on the other side of the interstate and connect them under the interstate bridge?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Expansion to the current Convention Center would be a financial mistake. Building a completely new and attractive state of the art multi pupose Convention Center would be the beat way to go for the city in the long run. The current one just isn't all that impressive nor is there much room to expand in the first place. They need to take an approach of the one in Los Angeles that's tied into the Staples Center and build a new Entertainment and tourist district around the Forum, such as a Science Museum Center, a new Children's Museum, and bring in an America Music HOF Museum like the R&R HOF in Cleveland and make it the top tourist destination in downtown. Expand the entertainemnt section on Beale eastward and bring in popular restaurnts and clubs like Jay Z's 40/40, Justin Timberlake's Southern Hospitality, an expanded Hard Rock Cafe, etc. Tourist dollars will help the center pay for itself by having these attractions near and around it. They would help lure in major conventions that usually would skip Memphis. That's why a convention center is being planned for the Graceland area-to lure in more tourism to Graceland.

You got to think big to be big. But that's something Memphis as a city isn't used to doing. They're use to saying it can't be done. :angry:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only problem with the current Cook Convention Center as it stands now is that it is landlocked on three sides, so the only way a possible expansion scenario would work is if they expand westward to the opposite end of Front Street, but that would require for some vital on-and-off ramps from I-40 at the bridge to be relocated, and that could add years before any expansion can be done on that end. You can't expand northward, even if you could build on the opposite side of I-40, because there's no realistic way to build over/under the interstate without modifying the interstate itself, which could cost millions in order to do and is also the most prohibitive with I-40 being the most critical thoroughfare into and out of the city over the Mississippi River.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


The conspicuous consumption culture seems to be alive and well in this new proposal. We just spent almost $100 million on a recent expansion and Cannon Center construction and now it's not enough. However, I do believe Mayor Herenton's other trait, failure to follow through, will also be exposed in this new project of the year, and the end result may be a study or a push to renovate/expand.

I think the convention center needs to stay exactly where it is and if there's good evidence the region stands to gain XX-amount of convention/tourist/associated $$ by expanding the facility so we can get a larger grade of conventions, then I think we need to expand it. Expansion will be difficult, or at least a lengthy process, given its proximity to the I-40/Riverside ramps, but the recent Bass Pro/Ericson deal has generated some discussion in the media of relocating the ramps for 2nd/3rd street access.

Building a new facility near the Forum will hasten the demise of north Downtown, render the Marriott and soon-to-be Crowne Plaza unnecessary, and severely hamper efforts to link the north end with the Pinch and Uptown and Ericson's and other proposals have sought.

My take: move the ramps, expand the current facilty, integrate it with whatever gets built at the Pyramid/Mud Island, and work toward improving north downtown.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the Cannon Center needs to remain the city's convention center and if need be it should be expanded to the scope needed for it to compete with other similar locales for the convention trade. The city has finite resources and to push for a new huge capital expenditure in the form of a new Convention Center while the city has a failing school system and a police department in dire need of increased resources seems like a political distraction designed to take the attention away from the city's more pressing problems.

Shiny new projects downtown are only going to go so far in improving the city's image, the underlying problems that the city faces in terms of the daily lives of it's citizens are going to have to be addressed in order for the city to continue be an attractive place to do business and live in. That's my opinion at least.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think they need to expand across Poplar. The old ugly federal building needs to be demolished and a new one built. That building is old and dated. So is city hall. The federal building could be put where the vacant police HQ is after it is demolished. MPD said it needs a new HQ, but the $40million it would take to renovate their vacant building would be too expensive so they want to build new. The new police HQ could be put in one of the vacant parking lots on or near Poplar. This could be done faster than re-routing existing interstate routes and would keep the north end of downtown vibrant. It would enhance civic square by getting rid of the vacant police HQ and possibly leave room for the 1,000 room hotel the mayor said is needed with a new/expanded convention center. :thumbsup:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think they need to expand across Poplar. The old ugly federal building needs to be demolished and a new one built. That building is old and dated. So is city hall. The federal building could be put where the vacant police HQ is after it is demolished. MPD said it needs a new HQ, but the $40million it would take to renovate their vacant building would be too expensive so they want to build new. The new police HQ could be put in one of the vacant parking lots on or near Poplar. This could be done faster than re-routing existing interstate routes and would keep the north end of downtown vibrant. It would enhance civic square by getting rid of the vacant police HQ and possibly leave room for the 1,000 room hotel the mayor said is needed with a new/expanded convention center. :thumbsup:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think this is actually one of Herenton's good ideas. With such a larger space, Memphis could handle conventions seen in cities like New Orleans and Atlanta. While I'm sure this is a way to get COGIC to remain in Memphis with its massive conventions, such a project would bring Memphis to a new level. Furthermore, after Katrina, Memphis is more attractive (and easier to get to) than New Orleans. It'd also be nice to see a 1000 room hotel...another way to enhance the skyline.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.