Efforts to modernize the Baltimore Convention Center are moving ahead. The Maryland Stadium Authority's board of directors has approved a request to develop a concept design for refreshing the downtown facility that is part of the city's Inner Harbor district. The completed design is expected to be revealed by the end of the year.
The Baltimore Convention Center, which opened back in 1979, currently offers 300,000 square feet of exhibit space, 50 meeting rooms and a 36,000-square-foot ballroom. In 2018, the MSA released a report with an "ideal plan" to renovate and expand the facility. Further research, however, showed that the proposed plan required the acquisition of privately owned space, a costly venture that included the 388-room Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel adjacent to the venue, as well as additional properties along the southbound lane of Charles Street.
The new plan is expected to focus more heavily on renovations to the existing site. Similar work on the East Building, along with the addition of the West Building, was completed in 1997.
"The tourism and visitor industry is an important driver of the region's economy. To remain competitive, the Baltimore Convention Center, the state's convention center, needs to be larger in scale, modernized with updated amenities, and equipped with the latest technology to meet the evolving demands of the convention and visitor industry," said Donald C. Fry, president and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee, in a statement. "It is imperative that this effort move forward with a sense of urgency to ensure that a project can be designed that takes into account budget concerns, while delivering a transformative project that will continue to be an economic benefit to the state, region and city of Baltimore."