At $288 million – the city’s brand-new convention center is said to be the single largest construction project in city history.
A massive glass building rises up on the eastern edge of Scissortail Park and it is quite the site. But that’s nothing compared to the view from inside out.
Most of the meeting rooms and open space overlook Scissortail Park. As does a huge veranda, offering those who visit a glimpse of what Oklahoma City has to offer.
“You’re not just coming for the building, you’re coming for the second and third experiences which is what happens after five,” said General Manager Al Rojas.
The streetcar of course can transport visitors to restaurants and nightlife bringing customers to downtown businesses. City leaders would like to say that’s how they planned it.
“We were kind of thinking we need a new convention center, wouldn’t a new park be awesome, don’t we need a circulator downtown, so we built the streetcar, but now that it’s all together it’s almost as if it’s by design to build,” laughed Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt.
The Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau said meeting planners from across the country are already taking notice. Activity is picking up and future customers are coming into town to check out the 500,000 square foot facility.
“We’re not trying to beat Las Vegas or Orlando. But we are trying to be Oklahoma City and have a convention center that’s worthy of the country’s 25th largest city,” said Holt.
The expectation is OKC will soon be on the national circuit for organizations over the next decade. And that’s how Rojas is selling it.
“I’m telling they got here fast it is a destination that’s going to explode here very soon and right now is a good time to get in on the ground level.”