The Oklahoma City convention center is expected to open by June 2020. Construction begins this month. [City of Oklahoma City/GSB/Populous]

 

The Oklahoma City Council on Tuesday awarded a $168.2 million construction contract to Flintco LLC to build MAPS 3 convention center.

Financed by the voter-approved, 1-cent MAPS 3 sales tax, the convention center is to open debt-free by June 2020.

The contractor was expected to receive formal go-ahead to begin work on Wednesday.

The convention center will have 200,000 square feet of exhibit space, equal to the exhibit hall in the Bennett Event Center at State Fair Park.

A 30,000-square-foot ballroom will be paired with a 5,000-square-foot terrace overlooking the MAPS 3 downtown park.

A skybridge will connect the convention center and a new headquarters hotel developed by Omni Hotels & Resorts, linking 45,000 square feet of convention center meeting rooms with more meeting space in the hotel.

The convention center is part of a $575 million complex including the hotel, a parking garage and surface parking, all served by the new streetcar system.

Total cost for convention center land acquisition, design and construction is nearly $300 million.

City Manager Jim Couch said it is the single-largest construction project in city history.