Plans to expand Austin Convention Center cancelled by city

AUSTIN, Tex. – The plug has been pulled on a proposed westward expansion of the Austin Convention Center.

As reported by the Austin-American Statesman, the $1.2 billion expansion plan approved by the Austin city council in 2020 has been cancelled amid stalled negotiations to purchase the land next to the ACC.

Katy Zamesnik, acting chief administrative officer of the Austin Convention Center Department (ACCD), told the newspaper they are looking at other options, which could include expanding the convention center ‘vertically’ in its current capacity.

Former city council member Jimmy Flannigan is now president of Austin Convention Enterprises, a public facilities corporation created to manage the city-owned Hilton Austin hotel near the ACC. He told The Austin Monitor a vertical expansion would reduce space at the center for a longer span of time as well as lower tax revenue from nearby hotels.

A review of the convention center’s finances also shows the impact of the COVID-19 on the facility, as revenue dropped from $35.8 million in 2019 to $12.8 million in 2020. The ACC ended 2020 with a deficit of more than $2.4 million.

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