May 25, 2005

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Convention Facilities Authority must decide whether to renovate the 278,600-square-foot Cleveland Convention Center or construct a new 200,000-square-foot facility, now that renovation plans have been unveiled. The debate about how to fix Cleveland's ailing convention industry includes discussion of closing the expansive 1 million-square-foot International Exposition Center. A PricewaterhouseCoopers report recommended that the convention center should offer about 200,000 square feet if the International Exposition Center remains open; if it closes, the research says the city could support a 300,000-square-foot center. Either project could cost in the neighborhood of $400 million, said Dennis Roche, president of the Convention & Visitors Bureau of Greater Cleveland. The Authority could make its decision before the end of June.