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Construction of MAPS 3’s $288 million Oklahoma City Convention Center is complete after more than a decade of planning. The state-of-the-art facility is debt-free and elevates the OKC’s capacity for hosting meetings and conventions.
“The timing of the Convention Center’s completion is bittersweet,” said MAPS program manager David Todd. “We hoped to celebrate the building with a ribbon-cutting and public tours, but to keep people safe we are waiting until the pandemic subsides in 2021.”
The center will draw events that bring attendees from around the region and world. It will provide a boost to Oklahoma City’s economy and serve as an ideal venue for local events.
“The Convention Center is the largest single MAPS project ever and promises to bring a long-term economic impact worthy of that investment,” said Mayor David Holt. “It’s the linchpin to what is now the finest meeting destination in the country, at least for a city our size. The synergy is unparalleled between the Convention Center, Scissortail Park, the Omni Oklahoma City Hotel, Chesapeake Energy Arena and the OKC Streetcar that links it all to Bricktown and the rest of downtown. When we’re past COVID-19, this will draw interest to OKC we’ve never seen before. None of this would be possible without the voters of 2009, the taxpayers, and the leadership provided by former Mayor Mick Cornett, our other predecessors on the City Council, and the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, which specifically championed this project. We are grateful to everyone who made this possible. Also, thanks to those who helped design and construct such a beautiful building, especially our MAPS 3 Citizens Advisory Board and our MAPS office.”
The building is east of Scissortail Park along Robinson Avenue between SW 4th and SW 7th streets.
“This venue is a vision realized for the Chamber, as we have been championing its construction for nearly 15 years. This is undoubtedly a game-changer for Oklahoma City as we emerge as a strong convention destination,” said Greater Oklahoma City Chamber President and CEO Roy Williams. “We’re already seeing great interest and convention bookings from meeting planners who are excited that OKC provides the full attendee experience their groups expect.”
Like the park and many other important landmarks downtown, it is served by the OKC Streetcar.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime project for the MAPS 3 office, Citizens Advisory Board, Convention Center Subcommittee and consultants,” added Todd. “It is an architectural gem from the floor to the ceiling, and we are proud to have completed the project on time and on budget.”
About the Convention Center
The Oklahoma City Convention Center captures the spirit and beauty of Oklahoma City. The interior design and art reflect Oklahoma City’s culture and history while the soaring glass walls and spacious balconies show off our remarkable sunsets and sweeping views of Scissortail Park.
The building’s sleek and modern design features materials intended for energy efficiency and resiliency against the weather.
The massive 500,000-square-foot interior includes a 200,730-square-foot exhibit hall on the first floor, which is divisible into four halls.
About 45,000 square feet of meeting spaces are on all levels of the building, and many have operable walls to make the spaces flexible. The rooms can be configured to provide up to 27 meeting spaces.
A 9,700-square-foot junior ballroom is located on the third floor and boasts sweeping views of Scissortail Park.
The building’s fourth floor features a 30,000-square-foot ballroom along with pre-function space and a large balcony overlooking Scissortail Park.
SAVOR is the building’s in-house catering partner that offers chef-driven creativity, seasonally available local ingredients, and distinguished hospitality.
Landscaping outside the convention center uses native plants and trees well-suited to the local climate, with a focus on sustainability, comfort and beauty. A central plaza and other inviting spaces will help the convention center’s exterior come alive with activity.
The Convention Center is next door to the Omni Oklahoma City Hotel, set to open Jan. 26 as the 605-room headquarters hotel.
A skywalk connects the Convention Center to a multi-story parking garage.
The convention center is managed by ASM Global, the same company that manages Chesapeake Energy Arena and former Cox Convention Center building.
The center will begin hosting events in January, with the first large convention scheduled for March.
“The Oklahoma City Convention Center is a game changer for the OKC destination and will attract new customers from the meetings industry,” said ASM Global/OKC Convention Center General Manager Al Rojas. “There are 16 national conventions on the books through 2026 that will contribute significant economic impact to the local economy.”
Although the building is considered complete, workers remain on site to finish punch list items.
Visit okcconventioncenter.com for more.
The convention center’s atriums are home to a monumental public art experience called Virtual Sky. The sculptural artwork is an array of anodized titanium rods suspended on aircraft cable alternating with strands of LED lights.
Each individual light is programmed for color, intensity, and duration, emitting light that is then reflected and enhanced by the titanium. The result is a matrix that can display three-dimensional forms moving through space much like clouds.
The artwork was created by Los Angeles-based Narduli Studio led by artist and architect Susan Narduli. At $1.5 million, Virtual Sky is one of the most valuable works in the City’s public art collection and was funded as a part of the City’s 1% for Art ordinance. The ordinance requires 1% of the construction budget for public projects to be spent on public art.
Cox Convention Center
The City’s former convention center building, formerly known the Cox Convention Center, is being leased to Prairie Surf Media and will be transformed into a film studio and soundstage.
About MAPS 3
MAPS 3 is a $777 million capital improvement program to improve the quality of life in Oklahoma City. It’s funded by a 1-cent sales tax initiative that began in April 2010 and ended in December 2017. MAPS 3 funds eight projects: Downtown Convention Center, Downtown Public Park, Modern Streetcar/Transit, Oklahoma River Improvements, Oklahoma State Fairgrounds Improvements, Senior Health and Wellness Centers, Trails and Sidewalks. Visit okc.gov/maps3 for details.
Voters approved MAPS 4 in December 2019, and sales tax collections are under way. Learn more at okc.gov/maps4.