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Home / Neighborhood / Los Angeles / City Council OKs DTLA Convention Center expansion project

City Council OKs DTLA Convention Center expansion project

by City News Service
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By Jose Herrera

As Los Angeles prepares for 2028 Olympic Games and city leaders aim to boost tourism, the City Council Wednesday approved an expansion and modernization of the Convention Center — the first renovation of the building in 30 years.

Council members voted 14-0 in favor of what is known as Convention Center Expansion and Modernization Project, consisting of a specific plan and sign district that will guide development on the effort. Councilman Curren Price was absent during the vote.

“I’m thrilled to be at this stage of the Convention Center Expansion and Modernization Project,” Price wrote in a letter to the council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee on Dec. 5.

He added, “It is our vision that we convert this into a world class facility with state of the art renovations.”

Price’s 9th District stretches from the Los Angeles Convention Center and the L.A. Live Complex to the historic communities of Vermont Square, Central-Alameda and Green Meadows.

“The expansion will result in a roughly 45% increase in size of the center and allow for grander exhibitions, greater amenities and better ease of access,” Price wrote in the letter.

The documents will require Mayor Karen Bass’ approval, and the plan will become effective after 30 days.

According to the Department of City Planning, the project will feature a 700,000-square-foot New Hall building, connecting the existing South and West Halls over Pico Boulevard.

The New Hall building will include 193,000 square feet of new exhibit hall space; 60,000 square feet of new meeting rooms; an atrium entrance and lobby along Pico Boulevard; and a 98,000-square-foot rooftop multi-purpose hall and a 10,000-square-foot outdoor event space with a view of downtown Los Angeles.

Additionally, the project will provide interior modernization of the existing Concourse Building and South Hall buildings, including partial demolitions of each hall to connect to the New Hall building. Key improvements will consist of a new West Hall lobby entrance at Chick Hearn Court adjacent to the JW Marriott Hotel expansion, renovation of Gilbert Lindsay Plaza, development of the Pico Boulevard underpass, and a new Bond Street parking garage, among other improvements.

As part of the plans, the council also signed off on an Arena Sign District — a new signage program, according to city planners. It will establish standards and a “uniform experience” between the center, L.A. Live and adjacent regional tourism, hotel and entertainment destinations.

Digital displays would be located in specific locations on multiple facades of the Convention Center, including fully animated digital signage along Figueroa Street and Chick Hearn Court, and static image digital signage along the freeway-facing facade of the Convention Center.

The plan has been years in the making, city planners confirmed. Since 2013, Los Angeles officials have explored opportunities to improve the Convention Center.

City Planners said the national convention business is highly competitive, especially in California where San Francisco, Anaheim and San Diego also provide facilities that directly compete with LA for business.

The Los Angeles Convention and Tourism Department and the City Administrative Officer have previously reported a need to expand the number of hotel rooms near the Convention Center.

CTD also reported the lack of space and rooms has cost the city at least $4.9 billion in revenue generated from conventions. Another report, the 2020 Tourism Master Plan, estimated that the city lost 2.6 million room nights between 2014 and 2017 because the Convention Center is too small or could not accommodate larger meetings, conventions and exhibitions.

An official date as to when construction would begin was not immediately available.

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