Florence Civic Center is approved for $15 million expansion

Florence Civic Center is approved for $15 million expansion

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - The Florence Civic Center has plans in place to expand and renovate its building. General manager, Kendall Wall says the civic center wasn’t keeping up with the development in the area. Now, there are plans to add 10-14 more meeting rooms within the next year, and he hopes it will be a big draw.

This expansion has been in the works since 2006 when the hotel district came about. Now, the city and county will partner together to help make their vision happen. They will spend fifteen million dollars to expand and renovate the current building and Wall says it's a financial benefit for both.

"When we sell Florence, we are selling it as a whole we aren't just selling the city or the county and this gives us the opportunity to sell Florence to the entire community, and that's very beneficial when you're out recruiting," said Wall.

Instead of people just coming one night for a concert, now they will have the space to recruit large groups to stay for four or five days. Wall says, “When you’re talking about economic impact in the community then it’s the conferences and the conventions by far, so in our world we are balancing both you know which is something the community side is very strong.” He continues saying, "Each one of these groups brings a very strong economic impact, and our funding here is through the support of the accommodations revenue fee and the hospitality fee, so there is no property tax involved. So, obviously the more we generate the more people we bring to town the larger that economic impact, it just runs back full circle to support other projects the city and county is working on.”

With almost 1600 hotels rooms surrounding the civic center. Jennifer Hunt, the Regional Director for the Florence high rise hotels says this expansion is happening at the perfect time. Just over one year ago, a brand new Hilton hotel was built right across from the civic center, specifically for its location.

"We are so excited because there is such a high demand for larger meetings with breakout rooms and conventions in the area, so we know that this will impact all six of our properties here in Florence drastically... Anything you want to do is within walking distance of this area, so it's a great area for conventions to be held, they don't have to get in their car to go eat or go to the civic center, they can just walk outside of the Home 2 suites," Hunt said.

Wall believes this expansion will be pulled together for a nice hotel district.

The civic center will continue booking events through 2016, and will accommodate events through the construction. Wall hopes the expansion will be completed Fall 2017.

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