Riverside, CA (PRWEB) June 27, 2014
After years of planning and over 20 months of construction, the City of Riverside revealed its newly renovated convention center during a special preview event for dignitaries and invited guests on Wednesday, February 26.
The City along with the Riverside Convention and Visitors Bureau is hopeful that the new Riverside Convention Center will allow the city to attract more business-related events, shows and meetings to the area. City officials are also hopeful that once business leaders from outside the area are here that they might be enticed by what the area has to offer and consider setting up shop locally. In an interview with California CEO’s Jeff Allen, Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey said that job growth was the key reason for attracting more businesses to the city.
“We have an incredible array of universities and Riverside City College with graduates every year who are leaving our city, and so we need to provide more jobs to keep that brain gain here.”
The new Riverside Convention Center boasts over 65,000 square feet of flexible space with rooms and exhibit halls that can accommodate as many as 3000 people for a variety of events including meetings, trade shows, and of course, conventions. Other amenities include new concourses and foyers, new restrooms, an open-air plaza, high efficiency lighting, free city Wi-Fi and expanded kitchen with on-site catering. Ted Wegland, President of Raincross Hospitality Corporation, which manages the facility, says the most attractive thing to meeting planners is that the center does not look or feel like a convention center.
“That was purposeful, and The City did a great job on it,” Wegland said. ”What we’re trying to do with the convention center is sell it as more of a boutique hotel-type look. And so now we have a convention center that in every way has superior design and has sort of a warm look and feel to it that you don’t have in other convention centers.”
In addition to the new convention center, Mayor Bailey highlighted the work that has gone on citywide as part of the “Riverside Renaissance.” The $1.5 billion program resulted in the completion of what the city has touted as 30 years of projects in 5 years, including a host of improvements to streets, sewers, parks, libraries, museums, construction of a new power station and renovation of the Fox Theatre, now known as the Fox Performing Arts Center.
Mr. Bailey says he believes Riverside has 4 competitive advantages to companies who may consider locating in the city.
“The Universities and Colleges, our public utility, our historic and vibrant downtown and our community spirit. We can compete with anybody as a city nationwide. We’ve competed globally. We’re going to continue to lay the groundwork and provide the infrastructure so that businesses know that this is the place to be, and for residents, this is the place to live.”
The Riverside Convention Center and the downtown area sit within Ward 1 of the city, which is represented by City Councilman Mike Gardner. While he sees the convention center as being a boon to Riverside, he believes that 2014 will be a pivotal year. “We are getting through the recession now. Sales tax is growing a little bit. But if you go watch our planning counter, you’ll see more and more people coming in with actual plans to develop a project, or asking about how to get a project developed, and that’s the kind of thing you need to see in the city, so this is going to be a key year for us.”
As for Riverside Convention Center, 2014 is already booking up quickly with 70 events scheduled even before the facility was unveiled at its preview.
Jeff Allen at CaliforniaCEO.net