VOL. 125 | NO. 221 | Friday, November 12, 2010
Convention Center Chooses CVB Bid
By Bill Dries
Sometime before the end of the year, the Memphis Cook Convention Center board and the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau hope to come to terms on a contract for the CVB to run the convention center.
The board this week chose the CVB’s bid from three proposals for future management of the nearly 40-year-old facility, which has undergone one major and several smaller renovations in recent years.
It represents a change in management from SMG, which has operated the center for the city and county for close to 20 years.
Convention Center board chairman Wayne Tabor said the CVB proposal was a unanimous choice.
“We think that they have the passion to sell more conventions and increase the business there,” he said. “There is some financial savings. I can’t go into detail because we are negotiating now. Financially for the city and county and the center, it makes sense. It saves some tax dollars for the community.”
Under the current structure, a meeting planner negotiates to hold an event at the center with the Marriott Hotel, SMG and the bureau. A contract for the CVB to run the center would eliminate one step in the process and would follow the lead of CVBs running convention centers in other cities including St. Louis and Richmond, Va. Nashville’s convention center is run by the metro government.
SMG and Global Spectrum also submitted proposals.