The Metropolitan Exposition Recreation Commission hired C.H. Johnson Consulting, Inc. (Johnson Consulting), in association with CTA Architects (CTA), to prepare a market assessment and financial feasibility study of the Portland Metropolitan Exposition Center (Expo Center).
Johnson Consulting is a real estate and economic development consulting firm with specialized experience in expo centers, convention centers, arenas, hotels and multipurpose facilities. Our firm has worked with MERC on several occasions and our experience with MERC, Portland, and the exposition facility market equipped us well to perform this assignment.
The overall intent of the analysis was to help plan the long-range future of the complex. Since the mid 1990s,
the Center has changed from a traditional fairground to more of a trade and consumer show venue. We characterized the change as an appropriate and successful transition largely accomplished by development of two new exhibit halls, efficient management and improved marketing strategies. The dynamics of the area near the near the Expo Center are changing, as is the events industry. There are still two obsolete halls within the complex, and the Portland MAX Light Rail has now been extended to the site.
To undertake this analysis, Johnson Consulting evaluated the Expo Center’s history, organizational structure, performance measures, market orientation, financial history, management structure, rental rates, event history, and competitive set. Johnson Consulting also compared the Expo to a set of peer expo centers, benchmarked their operations, and developed several strategic recommendations that will enhance the Centers’ operation and administration.