Austin Convention Center & Headquarters Hotel
Numerous repeat engagements with the City
Convention Center expansion
RFQ management for headquarters hotel developer
Multiple facility analysis- including performing arts center and the Palmer Events Center
Extensive meeting planner focus groups to determine needs, sales strategies and key decision points for them
On three separate occasions, the City of Austin engaged Johnson Consulting to conduct an expansion study and a status report on activity at the new Austin Convention Center, Palmer Auditorium, and Coliseum. The first study examined if renovation of the Palmer Auditorium and the City Coliseum was economically viable and in the best interests of the City and arts organizations. We recommended strategic initiatives for the City to pursue in optimizing the Convention Center’s performance, including a headquarters hotel, a new performing arts center, and a convention center expansion. As a result, the Austin Convention Center doubled in exhibition space to 250,000 square feet. The expansion included 125,000 square feet of exhibition space, a 40,000 square foot ballroom, and additional meeting and support space. A master plan called for phased future expansion to 450,000 square feet of exhibition space with an appropriate amount of meeting, banquet, and support space.
To implement the recommendations, the City retained our firm for a long-range masterplan for the convention center, an update of the hotel tax projections and analysis of financing capacity, an evaluation of the market potential for a headquarters hotel, and drafting and managing of RFQ for developer qualifications for the headquarters hotel. The expanded Convention Center successfully opened in May 2002 and the hotel opened in December 2003. In 2014, our firm was retained again to analyze five expansion options, and prepare demand, financial, economic and fiscal impact analyses for each scenario.