Last week, Governor Brian Kemp joined local leaders at the official groundbreaking of the Savannah Convention Center expansion project.
The $271 million dollar expansion project will double the current exhibit hall space to 200,000 square feet, add 58-foot-wide glass hangar doors, construct a 40,000 square foot ballroom, add 15 additional meeting rooms, and a 900-space on-site parking garage. Once completed, the Savannah Convention Center will be the 72nd largest convention center in the country.
“One of the top priorities of my administration has been to spur job creation and economic prosperity not just in metro-Atlanta, but all across the Peach State,” said Governor Kemp. “Savannah and Coastal Georgia are known around the world as a hub for tourism and economic development, and this convention center expansion will only strengthen that first-class reputation. Working with the General Assembly, we prioritized this project because of its importance to the region and our state as a whole. I greatly appreciate the hard work of the legislature, including the Savannah-area delegation, in getting this critical project funded.”
To date, the Georgia General Assembly has allocated $93 million in funding toward the project, beginning in 2017 with $3 million in funding for planning and design. In 2019, Governor Kemp established the Savannah-Georgia Convention Center Authority along with $20 million in funding for the final design and pre-construction. In 2020, the General Assembly included $70 million in the FY2021 state budget to begin initial construction. This year, Governor Kemp’s proposed budget includes $90 million for the project.
“This groundbreaking is another great day for the Savannah area, and our state as a whole,” said Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan. “It is great to see such a large investment being made outside of the Metro-Atlanta area, which is evidence of our confidence in Savannah’s continued success as a tourism hub. This state-of-the-art convention center expansion will create long-term employment opportunities and will play an integral role in attracting new events to Georgia.”
“As our ‘Hostess City of the South,’ tourism and conventions are driving forces behind Savannah’s success. This expansion of the Savannah Convention Center will double the exhibit, meeting and ballroom space to attract larger groups and events. In the process, the center expansion project will support more than 3,200 jobs and generate nearly $500 million in economic impact. I want to thank the Savannah-area legislative delegation, particularly House Economic Development & Tourism Chairman Ron Stephens, for advocating for this project which is on-track to receive a combined total of $180 million in state funding since 2018,” said Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge).
About Savannah Convention Center: A Georgia World Congress Center Authority-managed facility, the Savannah Convention Center features 330,000 square feet of meeting space for meetings, trade shows, and special events. With record-breaking attendance and facility revenue, the Savannah Convention Center drives economic growth and showcases the uniqueness of Savannah, Chatham County and the state of Georgia. In 2017, the Savannah Convention Center was the first convention center in Georgia to obtain LEED Gold certification.
About the Savannah-Georgia Convention Center Authority: The Savannah-Georgia Convention Center Authority is an instrument of the state of Georgia established in 2019 by the Georgia General Assembly and appointed by Governor Brian P. Kemp and the Chatham County legislative delegation. The Savannah-Georgia Convention Center Authority is responsible for overseeing the operations and construction projects at the Savannah Convention Center. The current members include: Mark Smith (Chairman), Joseph Marinelli (Vice-Chairman), Ruth Quattlebaum Edwards, Patrick Farrell, Martin Miller, Benjarmin Polote Jr., Jeanne Seaver, Mark Spadoni, Trip Tollision, and Ansley Williams.