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Too many convention centers ?

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Given the low interest rates, it's not surprising that a lot of cities are making long-term capital investments now.

That said, the convention industry has been flat-at-best for a while, but cities seem to be going wild building convention centers.

Can the regional convention market support so many facilities ?

For example, here are some of the ones proposed/planned within 250 miles of me :

Birmingham "convention dome" - Proposed $440-million project.

Hoover - Birmingham's largest suburb has, under construction, a new $50-million conference/convention center patterned after a lodge in Banff.

Mobile - Adding "four-star hotel" across from its convention center.

Point Clear - Recently renovated convention facilities at the Grand Hotel.

Gulf Shores - Orange Beach - State plans to build a 50,000-sq-ft convention center at Gulf State Park as part of a $90-million improvement to Alabama's most visited state park.

A developer hopes to get approval next month for a 21-story tower called "The Marquis," which would include a convention center.

Montgomery - doubling the size of its convention center and adding a 16-story hotel in 2005.

Huntsville - doubling the size of its convention/civic center

Decatur - studying downtown convention center

Tuscaloosa - Maybe the only city of its size with absolutely no official municipal convention or civic complex, Tuscaloosa hopes to build one on the downtown riverfront in the next few years.

Gadsden - Considering $12-13 million convention/civic center.

Florence - Construction has begun on a $65-million project which will include, among other things, an "upscale hotel" with convention/conference center.

Tupelo,MS - Building a convention center next to the civic center, and considering a proposal by a private developer to build a second convention center.

Jackson, MS - Considering $100-M convention center.

Biloxi-Gulfport,MS - Considering $70-M expansion and renovation of the civic/convention complex.

Tunica, MS - Added convention space.

Columbus, GA - Considering doubling the size of its convention center.

Pensacola, FL - Considering building a convention center attached to the existing civic center downtown.

Chattanooga, TN - Completed a $50-M expansion of its convention center last year.

Memphis, TN - Completed $92-M expansion of its convention center earlier this year.

I haven't even gotten to the assorted plans in Atlanta or Nashville, but you get the idea.

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Wow....that's a lot of convention centers! There's no way they'll ever be able to fill up all those with conventions.

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Yes I think they will find it difficult to fill them with conventions. I hope many of these convention centers were not publically funded

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Add three more to the list. Richmond recently finished their new convention center and Raleigh and Norfolk are planning new ones too. And I have to agree that it will be difficult to find enough conventions for all these new convention centers.

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