$200M construction on schedule for Memphis Convention Center

$200M convention center renovation is on time

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - With the first phase of construction at the Memphis Convention Center expected to be finished this fall, some companies are already booking the center for events.

For those of us who walk these downtown sidewalks on a regular basis, we see a lot of rubble outside the convention center and a newly constructed sky bridge.

That shows us some things are changing. Officials say some things that are not changing are the timeline and budget for this project.

“People who have worked in this building for 25 years, if we blind folded them and put them in different parts of the building, they'd have no idea where they are. That's how amazing this transformation is,” said Kevin Kane, Memphis Tourism CEO.

For seven months, the Cook Convention Center has been undergoing construction. Once work is done, it will be known as the Memphis Convention Center.

AutoZone has already planned a meeting there once the first phase of work is done.

“This building was built in the 1970’s. So, we had expected things like finding a wall where it's not supposed to be, but besides that, things are going as planned,” said Alan Barner, project manager.

Renderings show a majority glass building with views of the Mississippi.

The Memphis Convention Center general manager says the mezzanine will be the biggest change.

“The mezzanine has gone away in this grand lobby. If you recall those low, 10-foot or 9-foot ceilings they’re now 20-foot ceilings, and you have natural light all the way from Main Street to Front Street,” said Dean Dennis, Memphis Convention Center VP and GM.

The project will cost $200 million, all being paid with non-taxpayer money.

The demolition and reconstruction of the sky bridge has a section of Main Street closed to pedestrians.

It will reopen next month.

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