Convention center will bring tourists, locals downtown

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Close to completion, the Utah County Convention Center will provide plenty of space for business meetings and conventions and hopes to bring $18 million revenue to the Utah County economy each year.

The convention center stands three stories tall at 220 West Center Street and joins many other businesses in hopes of bringing tourists and locals to the downtown area. The center is located by NuSkin, the Covey Center and the long-awaited LDS Temple.

Local developers are not alone in their endeavors to help the Provo economy. UDOT  announced FrontRunner will extend its route to a terminal near The Town Center Mall, about three miles away, and the I-15 interchange at Center Street is nearly complete.

The luxurious interior includes more than 80,000 useable square feet with an exhibit hall on the first floor, a kitchen and ballroom on the second and meeting and conference rooms on the third floor. An executive boardroom has large glass windows that overlook the Wasatch Mountains and makes the center’s facility truly unique.

The space can be used for regional conferences, bridal fairs, MMA fights and cheerleading competitions. The Orem Owlz baseball team has already booked the center for their First Pitch Dinner and Orem High School will be hosting the junior Prom there. [media-credit id=3 align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]

The 2,000 square foot kitchen can provide in-house catering and can feed groups as small as ten people to as many as 1500. The kitchen is staffed with experienced culinary teams according to Tennille Wanner,  the director of sales and marketing for UVCC. Wanner said it’s important that the center has direct control over the quality of food.

The convention center recently received clearance from Provo City for beer sales at sporting events or weddings. A new class of alcohol licensing was made for the center at a March Provo Municipal Council meeting. Under the new ordinance, beer can be sold in unmarked containers and must be consumed on the grounds.

There are no qualifications needed to book an event at the convention center but there are rental fees for using the facility. Wanner said instead of using a flat fee, the catering needs and audio and visual rentals  are taken into consideration and so each event differs in price.

The building is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified which means it meets certain measurable qualifications to be considered environmentally friendly. Danny Wheeler, general manager of the Utah Valley Convention Center, said the space has plenty of “green” features like low water usage in the bathrooms, planned landscaping and numerous bicycle racks outside.  There are even shower facilities for employees to encourage them to ride their bikes to work.

According to Wheeler, the County has plans to make the building even bigger.

“The County has been clear from day one that this is really just Phase One of the building and they plan on expanding it down the road in the next five years or so,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler explained the paneling on the West side of the building is made up of all reusable materials so when the day comes to expand, they can take the paneling off and reuse it.

According to Wheeler, the focus of this building is to bring visitors to Utah County. Many locals travel to Sandy to attend expos but with this facility, it will bring tourists and business to Utah Valley. Attendees will stay in hotels, spend money at Provo malls and dine at local restaurants. All of these things will boost the economy.

Mayor John Curtis said in a news release the convention center will bring great things for Provo’s economy.

“I look forward to it as an economic facilitator in our city,” Curtis said.

The grand opening of the Utah Valley Convention Center will be May 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The general public is invited to attend and participate in the free event which will include entertainment, art exhibitions, tours and free food.

 

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