SHARONVILLE, Ohio (WKRC) – For years now, most of the economic expansion has been in southern Hamilton County. However, that trend will shift a little north to Sharonville.
Once again, the convention center will double in size and, in turn, double its financial impact to the community. The expansion is ready to move forward and Hamilton County commissioners will vote on $557,000 grant that will help the convention proceed with planning and construction.
"We're at capacity for the exhibit. We have a lot of great annual events. One of the reasons we want to expand is to get that incremental,” said Jim Downton, executive director of the Sharonville Convention Center.
The expansion will double the exhibition space from 20,000 square feet to 40,000 square feet. It will also add a ticket office, a kitchen, more bathrooms and storage space and will bring nearly double the amount direct and indirect spending to the area to the tune of $28 million annually says Downton.
Along with the expansion of the convention center, a newly remodeled and rebranded hotel and a brewery will be open soon too.
“We expect the same sort of momentum and increased development and more jobs, more hotel investment and more entertainment,” said Downton, comparing this phase of the project to the 2012 renovation of the convention center.
Jenell Walton is the vice president of Communications & Strategic Development at Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau. She says the expansion in Sharonville makes the region stronger.
"This is really going to be a perfect fit, a perfect size for them,” said Walton. “Even with the expansion, it's still going to be a little smaller than Duke Energy Center, so once those meeting planners see that, they're going to like having those different options for different sizes too."
Construction at the convention center should begin in January and be open for use in 2021.