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  #1  
Old Posted Mar 9, 2015, 4:38 AM
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Convention Center Expansion

Now that talk about expanding the convention center is gaining traction, it might be worthy of a thread of its of own. Here's a Statesman article about it from today. Hopefully this link to the other side of the pay wall works:

http://www.mystatesman.com/news/busi...3948020.735666
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  #2  
Old Posted Mar 9, 2015, 4:56 AM
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Maybe this is where the rumor of three more White Lodging hotel announcements came from...
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Old Posted Mar 9, 2015, 5:49 AM
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Well they better get their act together and see the need to rush the gate expansion at the airport too.
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  #4  
Old Posted Mar 9, 2015, 12:08 PM
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The end of the article mentions possibly going up rather than out with new expansions. I hope they stick to that line of thinking as they consider their options.
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  #5  
Old Posted Mar 9, 2015, 1:16 PM
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The end of the article mentions possibly going up rather than out with new expansions. I hope they stick to that line of thinking as they consider their options.
Why not go down? It's not like exhibit halls or meeting rooms ever have any windows.
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Old Posted Mar 9, 2015, 9:19 PM
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Why not go down? It's not like exhibit halls or meeting rooms ever have any windows.
I'm not sure if they can or how much it may increase the cost of going down to expand the contiguous exhibit space. Furthermore, going down would still require the purchase of the additional blocks to make economic sense.

One major differential from one convention center to the next is their respective amounts of contiguous exhibit space. Thus, convention centers move out rather than up. One cannot expand their "contiguous" space by building up over multiple levels.

Having said that, the ballrooms and breakout rooms could be contained in a taller structure.

At this point, in order to make it economically viable to expand the convention center, at least two of the thee western blocks will need to be purchased and incorporated into the "new" convention center.
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Old Posted Mar 10, 2015, 12:28 AM
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That's actually a good point. A lot of conventions like one big room for the various kiosks, etc. With many of the types of events that we have in Austin, however, smaller rooms (ballrooms, etc.), may be more in demand - or maybe I'm just thinking that way without any real facts, of course. I agree that those buildings could easily go up (or down, though costs may prevent that). For contiguous space, the blocks lining Waller Creek might be better rather than taking away the ones on the west side (block 8 and the one to the north of it) - so long as the convention center relates well to the creek with all the new development (restaurants, coffee shops, etc., on the creek). The only disadvantage to anything like that is the possibility of lose parts of the street grid.
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Old Posted Mar 10, 2015, 12:31 AM
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Another thought - if the convention center does need to take up more blocks, why not put a hotel or something on top of it? That way, we're not necessarily losing the blocks to that space. The streets could have smaller retail and hotel entrances, the guts of the building could be the convention space. It could still be vertical and satisfy the desire of horizontal expansion as well. Anything like that would certainly be easier to do during the original construction rather than adding something later, which would require closing significant chunks of the center during the work.
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  #9  
Old Posted Mar 10, 2015, 2:43 AM
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Originally Posted by drummer View Post
Another thought - if the convention center does need to take up more blocks, why not put a hotel or something on top of it? That way, we're not necessarily losing the blocks to that space. The streets could have smaller retail and hotel entrances, the guts of the building could be the convention space. It could still be vertical and satisfy the desire of horizontal expansion as well. Anything like that would certainly be easier to do during the original construction rather than adding something later, which would require closing significant chunks of the center during the work.
I love this idea. No idea how feasible it is, but it sounds like a great idea.
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  #10  
Old Posted Mar 10, 2015, 6:00 AM
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I love this idea. No idea how feasible it is, but it sounds like a great idea.
You have to think of the clear span length inside the main convention floor of any new space. Roof loads alone begin to require geometrically increasing support structures. To build above, you'll have to carve up the inside space with support columns for the highrise, or else engineer some fanatastically expensive new design that supersedes modern code, and get the COA to pay for it.
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Old Posted Mar 10, 2015, 6:44 AM
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You have to think of the clear span length inside the main convention floor of any new space. Roof loads alone begin to require geometrically increasing support structures. To build above, you'll have to carve up the inside space with support columns for the highrise, or else engineer some fanatastically expensive new design that supersedes modern code, and get the COA to pay for it.
You make a good point - but I do like the idea of "new design that supersedes modern code." It's the "fantastically expensive" part that dictates why it won't happen with COA. Either way, I'd like them to start thinking in creative ways to accomplish what needs to be done that satisfies all aspects of a city.
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Old Posted Mar 10, 2015, 4:28 PM
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If they expand why not go east? Take the lots that straddle Waller Creek where Moonshine Patio Bar is currently. Those lots are not used but for that bar. Think a few floors of either ground floor small meeting rooms or parking levels on each side of the creek, above they could build a solid continuous floor two blocks long and one block wide. Between Red River/I35 and 3rd/4th. Doing that would allow them to have access to the unused Palm Park that they could use as outside space.
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  #13  
Old Posted Mar 10, 2015, 4:40 PM
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If they expand why not go east? Take the lots that straddle Waller Creek where Moonshine Patio Bar is currently. Those lots are not used but for that bar. Think a few floors of either ground floor small meeting rooms or parking levels on each side of the creek, above they could build a solid continuous floor two blocks long and one block wide. Between Red River/I35 and 3rd/4th. Doing that would allow them to have access to the unused Palm Park that they could use as outside space.
I like that idea, but raising the convention center above Waller Creek and Red River wouldn't help with contiguous space inside. To the west, there are restaurants and bars that would be lost, but that seems better than compromising Waller Creek.
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Old Posted Mar 10, 2015, 6:21 PM
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Some more possibilities...

Nairobi has a 28-floor convention center, admittedly hideous but it illustrates the point that we can go vertical too: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenyatt...ference_Centre

Cleveland's convention center is being expanded via private sector investment, i.e., the Hilton Convention Center Hotel. "The hotel will feature a 28-story tower filled with 600 guest rooms positioned atop a four-story podium of ballrooms, meeting space, retail space, and lobby. The hotel will feature a rooftop bar as well as underground connections to the Cleveland Convention Center and the Global Center for Health Innovation."
http://www.cuyahogacounty.us/en-US/C...l-Project.aspx

Maybe if Austin can let go of the idea that we must be able to attract the DNC or RNC (and face it, do we really want a bunch of liquored-up political a**holes running loose on Dirty Sixth?) then we could focus instead on expanding the number of less-ginormous meeting rooms and exhibit spaces, which would allow for a public-private partnership to build an expansion that goes vertical with multiple uses included.

The most profitable ACC event is SXSW, isn't it? That type of gathering requires many and varied spaces, not one enormous contiguous space. I just feel very skeptical about the need for that huge unimpeded floor space, as it seems to me that it severely limits the type of construction that can be used, while failing to attract enough added business to make it worthwhile.

What about highrise building(s) above the permimeter structural supports? On the roof of the 2nd or 3rd floor of the middle part of the convention center there could be a rooftop park/garden/outdoor cafe area for convention and hotel guests, surrounded by 2nd floor retail, restaurants, and shops. Are you picturing this? It would be very unusual and possibly visually unappealing from the street view, but I think it would be very cool and it would work from a structural perspective.
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Old Posted Mar 10, 2015, 9:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Tech House View Post
Some more possibilities...

Nairobi has a 28-floor convention center, admittedly hideous but it illustrates the point that we can go vertical too: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenyatt...ference_Centre

Cleveland's convention center is being expanded via private sector investment, i.e., the Hilton Convention Center Hotel. "The hotel will feature a 28-story tower filled with 600 guest rooms positioned atop a four-story podium of ballrooms, meeting space, retail space, and lobby. The hotel will feature a rooftop bar as well as underground connections to the Cleveland Convention Center and the Global Center for Health Innovation."
http://www.cuyahogacounty.us/en-US/C...l-Project.aspx

Maybe if Austin can let go of the idea that we must be able to attract the DNC or RNC (and face it, do we really want a bunch of liquored-up political a**holes running loose on Dirty Sixth?) then we could focus instead on expanding the number of less-ginormous meeting rooms and exhibit spaces, which would allow for a public-private partnership to build an expansion that goes vertical with multiple uses included.

The most profitable ACC event is SXSW, isn't it? That type of gathering requires many and varied spaces, not one enormous contiguous space. I just feel very skeptical about the need for that huge unimpeded floor space, as it seems to me that it severely limits the type of construction that can be used, while failing to attract enough added business to make it worthwhile.

What about highrise building(s) above the permimeter structural supports? On the roof of the 2nd or 3rd floor of the middle part of the convention center there could be a rooftop park/garden/outdoor cafe area for convention and hotel guests, surrounded by 2nd floor retail, restaurants, and shops. Are you picturing this? It would be very unusual and possibly visually unappealing from the street view, but I think it would be very cool and it would work from a structural perspective.
Austin, as a state capitol, has a vested interest in being able to attract those conventions. It would be good not only for the city, but for the state. Those, really, are the key events that Austin needs to be able to attract and we're currently trying to piece together the necessary components (larger convention space, more hotel space, and a basketball arena that is larger).
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Old Posted Mar 10, 2015, 9:34 PM
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Originally Posted by IluvATX View Post
I like that idea, but raising the convention center above Waller Creek and Red River wouldn't help with contiguous space inside. To the west, there are restaurants and bars that would be lost, but that seems better than compromising Waller Creek.
Actually it could. San Antonio's convention center spans the riverwalk. I've personally stood in a convention hall that straddled the river.

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=San+A...s&z=20&iwloc=A
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Old Posted Mar 10, 2015, 9:38 PM
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Actually it could. San Antonio's convention center spans the riverwalk. I've personally stood in a convention hall that straddled the river.

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=San+A...s&z=20&iwloc=A
A) That's not the actual river, just part of the riverwalk that essentially /ends/ at the convention center and B) I'm sure you realize they're re-doing the entirety of that half of the convention center to basically get rid of it because it didn't work very well.
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Old Posted Mar 10, 2015, 9:41 PM
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That's a bummer. We always set up in that section over the river facing the glass bridge. It was nice because it had good access to the street.
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Old Posted Aug 24, 2015, 6:43 PM
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Community Impact has some details about the expansion. The new hotel looks to be ~31-stories.


Article: http://communityimpact.com/2015/08/2...ter-expansion/
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Last edited by The ATX; Aug 24, 2015 at 7:00 PM.
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Old Posted Aug 24, 2015, 7:10 PM
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Here are some more renderings from the Austintowers link that Paul78701 posted in the update thread.





Austintowers: http://austintowers.net/visuals-aust...ter-expansion/
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