by Michael J. Shapiro | June 05, 2013

The board of Philadelphia's Pennsylvania Convention Center has selected private operator SMG to manage and operate the facility, board officials announced yesterday. The selection is part of a multifaceted approach the center is taking to improve the customer experience and reduce costs. The facility has seen bookings for large shows dwindle since unveiling its $800 million expansion in 2011. The convention center board and SMG will finalize contract details over the next 30 days, and SMG will assume management of the center within two to three months after the contract is finalized. "The Board of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority is committed to doing what is necessary to ensure that this building fulfills its promise as an economic engine for our region, by enhancing our ability to compete effectively with other venues through the highest level of customer service, competitive pricing and delivering the best possible customer experience," said board chairman Gregory J. Fox. Related initiatives include a review of the convention center's existing labor-supplier model, which will occur after the SMG contract is finalized, as well as improving the facility's existing work rules and increasing billing transparency. According to current convention center president and CEO Ahmeenah Young, "The staff is firmly committed to the success of the Pennsylvania Convention Center and to the positive economic growth of the city and region."