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Convention center redo will reflect Albuquerque’s roots

Courtesy Albuquerque CVB

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.  —  The Albuquerque Convention Center will soon get a new look that will better reflect the city’s history, art, culture and environment.

The $20 million facelift for the center’s West Complex, built in 1972, was announced in July. Construction should begin the middle of next year and be finished by the end of 2014.

“These renovations will continue to ensure that a meeting in Albuquerque is a uniquely different experience” said Dale Lockett, president/CEO of the Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The preliminary designs include a new facade, a remodeled ballroom, a ballroom entertainment deck and massive windows with panoramic views. The west building’s lower-level atrium will be remodeled and a fireplace and a lower-level food court/cafe will be added.

The redesign is being paid for from money made available when the city refinanced $80 million of convention center bonds last November.

Downtown business owners told local television station KOB that the move is a good bet.

“During these hard economic times I think anything that’ll attract business to Albuquerque is great,” Steve Vatoseow of Lindy’s Restaurant told the station. “I definitely think the convention center is under-utilized right now. Hopefully, if they fix it up it’ll attract more conventions.”

City leaders say the renovation is the only way Albuquerque can stay in the game.

In addition to the investment in the Albuquerque Convention Center, more than $200 million has been spent on upgrades and renovations at hotel and meeting facilities across the city in recent years.

The 600,000-square-foot convention center is within walking distance of 900 hotel rooms. Its features include 167,500 square feet of exhibit space, a 31,000-square-foot ballroom, 27 meeting rooms and a 2,350-seat auditorium and 718-covered parking spaces.