New Utah Valley convention center expected to boost economy


Utah County officials hope a state-of-the-art convention center in downtown Provo will boost local business and attract regional corporations’ meetings.

Currently under construction, the Utah Valley Convention Center, located on the corner of Center Street and Freedom Avenue, is scheduled for completion Spring 2012. The 83,578 square-foot facility will accommodate large numbers of guests for both corporate and community events. Okland Construction is the contractor on the project.

[easyembed field=”Photogallery”]Provo City spokeswoman Helen Anderson, said she also expects the convention center will have a significant impact on the downtown area. The center’s projected opening also comes as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints plans to renovate the Provo Tabernacle as a temple. Both projects are expected to draw many more visitors to the city’s heart.

“I think it has already set in motion some revitalization in the area,” she said. “And we’re looking forward to the many guests, tourists and visitors it will bring.”

Danny Wheeler, general manager of the center, said the center will give Utah County corporations an opportunity to host conventions close to home.

“A lot of these big corporate businesses tend to travel because they don’t have anywhere around here to meet,” he said. “Up until now, they haven’t had the opportunity to show off what Provo and Utah County have to offer. [The convention center] gives them a chance to show that off and let their peers come to them, as opposed to them always traveling to other people’s home towns.”

Wheeler said one of the main goals of the center is to host corporations’ multi-day conventions to boost local business.

“It’s being built to bring in groups and associations into Utah Valley that aren’t from here,” he said. “As companies do that, their attendees are staying in the hotels, they are spending money in our restaurants, on entertainment, and vitalizing the whole economy in the area.”

Besides hosting corporate conventions, Wheeler said the center can be used for public exhibitions and community events.

“There will be an opportunity for consumer events like home shows, women’s shows, and gun shows,” he said. “Wedding ceremonies, wedding receptions, black tie galas, banquets, you name it.”

Wheeler said the ability to customize the convention center’s space make it perfect for any event.

“The thing that’s nice about it and what makes it different from an arena or stadium is that there’s no fixed seating,” he said. “It’s a completely flexible space. We may have a mixed martial arts event one night and a black-tie gala in the same space the next night. So a varied mix of events can take place there.”

Wheeler said the convention center consists of three levels — each with something to offer.

The first floor will have a visitors center, public cafe’ and exhibition halls.

“That’s where we would do most of the public shows,” he said.

Floor two will consist of a full service kitchen, complete with catering capabilities and a giant ballroom.

“Our ballroom is about 17,000 square feet,” Wheeler aid. “To give you an idea on how big that is, the Provo Marriott [hotel], currently has the largest ballroom in the county at just about 8,000 square feet. We’re going to be over twice the size of that.”

The top floor will have nine meeting rooms, an executive board room and an outdoor garden area.

“The rooftop terrace is really awesome,” Wheeler said. “Its going to be a great social gathering place.”

Wheeler said part of the Utah Valley Convention Center’s exterior will compliment the historic feel of downtown Provo while the other will add a modern twist to the area.

“You’ll notice the brick front facade all around that one side of the building that is consistent with the rest of downtown Provo,” he said. “At the same time, there are those two glass facades on the east and on the north. We didn’t want it to feel out of place in Provo, but at the same time, we wanted some ‘wow’ factor.”

Wheeler said local reaction to the new building is positive.

“For a lot of the state associations, their demographics and their membership have a heavier base here in Utah County than they do in other counties,” he said. “So they’re really excited to be able to have a change and to take an event to a new location where typically, they’re just alternating between St. George and Salt Lake.”

Wheeler said a public grand opening of the convention center is expected to take place toward the end of April.

“We’re going to have a grand opening that will give the public an opportunity to come take a look around,” he said. “We’ll have free food and activities for the kids and give them a chance to come see what the facility is all about.”

Tennille Wanner, director of sales and marketing, said the convention center will be a unique facility in Utah County.

“This will be a facility unlike what we have in our immediate area,” she said. “It isn’t just an expo hall. We’ll have one of the largest banquet rooms in the area and be able to fit around 1,200 people which is something a lot of facilities in the area don’t offer.”

Wanner said the completed convention center will change local economy.

“It will drive tourism,” she said. “It will bring more business to the community and help the overall economic impact of Utah County.”

Wanner said she is excited to see the center’s influence in action.

“The transformation of downtown is going to be spectacular,” she said.

For more information visit

Print Friendly, PDF & Email