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Oklahoma City’s New Convention Center Plan

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The Cox Convention Center has provided downtown OKC with a place for large events for years, but compared to some newer parts of downtown, it’s really showing its age.  As a part of the MAPS project, a new convention center has been planned.  It will be built on the site of an old Ford dealership west of the OKC Arena and south of the Myriad Gardens.

This new convention center is going to come with a $280 million price tag, but it’s expected to bring in $7 billion or more in tourism.  That’s pretty impressive, and OKC could sure use the economic boost.  According to the officials in charge of the project, it will take Oklahoma City from a third tier city to a second tier city, meaning we will be able to compete with Austin, St. Louis, and other cities of the same size and status. 

The new convention center will be larger than the Cox Center, so OKC will be able to host larger events.  It will also employ more residents and help lower our already-low unemployment rate.  Our tourism rate has actually been steadily increasing over the last few years, thanks largely to the addition of the OKC Thunder.  Having a NBA franchise here in the city, especially one that is doing very well, is both pretty cool and great for business.

So when can we start attending events at this new convention center?  Unfortunately, it will be a few years.  Construction hasn’t even officially began yet, but it is slated to start soon. 

News about the Convention Center and OKC tourism can be found on these blogs:

The OKC News Bureau has some facts and figures about Oklahoma tourism.

Adam Knapp’s blog is a bit old—it talks about locations being considered for the center—but the comments present an interesting debate on whether downtown OKC needs a new convention center.

The Meetings and Conventions blog has a short article on the MAPs 3 projects.

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