The Week In Tradeshows | Jan. 21

The restoration and expansion of the Miami Beach Convention Center may be off-track once again. Citing an unnamed but “trusted” source, a city official alleged that one of the project’s bidders may have had improper contact with the city’s former procurement director. The accusing official, Commissioner Deede Weithorn, did not name any of the involved parties, but has asked the city commission to “reconsider” a December vote which narrowed the field of development teams.

Event organizers may be shying away from Milwaukee due to concerns over a lack of space, according to recent reports. While the city did not comment on the story, an aging convention center is said to be at the center of the issue.

That center is finally getting rebranded for it’s new owners, nearly five months after changing hands. Signage on the Delta Center in downtown Milwaukee has continued to read “Frontier Airlines Center” even after the venue officially transferred ownership in September. The change cost the airline about $100,000.

Memphis Mayor AC Wharton Jr. floated the idea of building a new convention facility in the city in a speech last week. Wharton believes Memphis would need to invest about $600 million to compete with other cities in the region.

Castle Communications has been selected to produce the Inland Empire International Auto Show at the Ontario (Calif.) Convention Center (Aug. 23-25). “We watched what they had done expanding the Sacramento International Auto Show from a 75,000-square-foot inside-space-only show to over a million feet inside-and-out,” says Michael Krouse, president and CEO of the Ontario Convention Center and Visitors Bureau.

Convention attendance has been cut in half in Portland (Ore.) since a renovation to the Oregon Convention Center in 2003. Officials are considering several ways to fund construction of a 600-room Hyatt hotel adjacent to the center that they hope can revitalize the meetings business.

After a five month investigation, Tuscon Convention Center deputy director Tommy Obermaier was fired for alleged mismanagement of bookings, according to the Arizona Daily Star. The probe uncovered “a trail of missing charges, unsigned contracts, double-bookings and other dubious practices that cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Construction on a $33.6 million Wilmington, N.C. convention center hotel has been put on hold for the second time after investors hit snags with federal paperwork. Ground-breaking was initially slated for September.

A 400-room Hilton will be built adjacent to the Palm Beach County Convention Center after officials approved the largely taxpayer-funded development project last week. The hotel is expected to account for 1,000 jobs and $500 million in economic impact by 2020.

The top five shows at the Anaheim Convention Center bring in about 285,000 people and $225 million for the city each year. Those numbers are likely to go up with the center’s new Grand Plaza which opened last weekend.

The Massachusetts Convention Center Authority earned $1.2 million in revenue and $750,000 in profits from Mitt Romney’s election night gala at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

The Butte (Mt.) Copper King Hotel and Convention Center is up for sale.

The Washington Convention Center was ready for Monday’s inaugural ball.

The News Tribune has a Q&A with Kim Bedier, new director of the Tacoma Dome and the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center.

The media got a sneak-peak at the new 223,000-sq.-ft. Cleveland Convention Center which officially opens in July.

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Posted by Michael Rondon

Michael Rondon is a senior editor for Expo. Reach him @Mike_Rondon or View all articles by Michael Rondon →