Before the Charlotte Convention Center’s current expansion began, the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA) wanted to know what it could do to help create a more perfect event destination. Working with the real estate firm JLL, CRVA gathered insights from meeting planners from all over the country on what they needed to be successful. Their responses helped inform what the expansion of the Charlotte Convention Center, due to be completed in 2021, will look like.
“The expansion of the convention center to include more breakout spaces and prefunction areas is a direct reflection of what meeting planners told us they are looking for,” Bill McMillan, senior director of sales at Visit Charlotte, says. “Understanding our customers’ needs in the context of changes in the meetings industry will keep Charlotte competitive as a sought-after destination.”
The expanded convention center will include an additional 50,000 square feet of meeting and prefunction space, including two 10,000-square-foot rooms, each divisible into 19 different configurations. There will be a new pedestrian walkway leading from the venue to the 700-room Westin Charlotte, and a LYNX light rail station stop, giving attendees easy access to Center City’s 200-plus restaurants and 5,600 hotel rooms, plus more nightlife and entertainment options in other popular neighborhoods, like South End and NoDa.
“Connectivity to the city was an important need of planners, which we also addressed, enhancing access to the staggering amount of development surrounding the Charlotte Convention Center,” McMillan says. “This development includes hotels, retail, restaurants, residences, and even a Whole Foods.” There are several upcoming hotel projects in Charlotte, many of which, like the 381-room JW Marriott located directly across from the Charlotte Convention Center, the 254-room Grand Bohemian Charlotte, and the 176-room EVEN Hotel at Stonewall Station, are set to open later this year.
Despite all the current development, attendees visiting the newly expanded Charlotte Convention Center won’t feel like they’re lost in the hustle and bustle of a big city, but rather ideally situated in the center of it all. The venue is just seven miles from Charlotte Douglas International Airport and offers easy access to public transportation. Plus, onsite staff will be able to help delegates with any questions about Charlotte and its one-of-a-kind attractions, such as the NASCAR Hall of Fame and the U.S. National Whitewater Center.
“The Queen City features premier accessibility by air or by road, with incredible walkability anywhere in our city,” McMillan says. “Our people are passionate and welcoming, providing true Southern hospitality blended with urban sophistication.”