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Phoenix Convention Center plan includes hotel, residential tower, park

After gathering public input and studying the market, the Phoenix Convention Center has a plan to expand.

The focus is on the South building site — it’s prime real estate — nine acres between Jefferson and Washington streets and Third and Fifth streets. 

Jerry Harper, deputy director with the Convention Center, recently shared a conceptual master plan with a council subcommittee.

“Green space is something that is desperately needed,” he said when describing a proposed 34,000 square foot park. “Having this space in what could potentially be a highly trafficked area with pedestrian activity could be activate not only by our meeting planners that like to use this space but also by any of our other downtown partner, whether it's the Phoenix Suns or the Arizona Diamondback with this being located right in between those two sports venues. 

The pocket park would be located between a future residential tower and high-rise hotel.

“That is important because essentially that allows for meeting attendees to stay in a hotel, have direct access to the convention center — essentially to the entire convention center campus without having to step outside,” Harper said.

A consultant’s market study found Phoenix needs 800 to 1,200 more hotel rooms to stay competitive with convention business. 

“I would say that’s one of the most important things right now when we look at the type of business that we are losing to our competitors is the lack of walkable hotel rooms within a half mile of the convention center,” said Ron Price, president and CEO of Visit Phoenix.

The plan, which will guide future expansion, also includes adding up to 150,000 square feet of exhibition hall space in the next six to 10 years, and identifying and creating a 24/7 entertainment district near the convention center.

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.