In 1998, the City engaged C.H. Johnson Consulting to conduct an expansion study and a status report on activity at the new Austin Convention Center, Palmer Auditorium, and Coliseum. The objective of the study for the Palmer Auditorium and the City Coliseum was to determine if renovation of these facilities was economically viable and in the best interests of the City and arts organizations. We recommended strategic initiatives for the City to pursue in optimizing the Convention Center’s performance, including a headquarters hotel, a new performing arts center, and a convention center expansion. With only 125,000 square feet of exhibition space, the Convention Center is highly regarded for its technological capability but was way too small for the market. The expansion included 125,000 square feet of exhibition space, a 40,000 square foot ballroom, and additional meeting and support space. A master plan anticipates phased future expansion to 450,000 square feet of exhibition space with an appropriate amount of meeting, banquet and support space.
To implement the recommendations, the City retained C.H. Johnson Consulting for the following additional engagements:
The City of Austin has moved forward according to the recommendations made by C.H. Johnson Consulting. The Convention Center expansion opened in May 2002 and the hotel opened in December of 2003.