A study commissioned by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber said the city should replace its existing 38-year-old Cox Convention Center with a new facility that would cost between $250 million and $400 million.
The study said the Cox Center’s exhibit space is the smallest of more than a dozen competing cities, including Tulsa, Fort Worth, and Austin. The city is also hurt by a lack of a headquarters convention hotel, the report noted.
Chamber president Roy Williams said many convention planners are not considering Oklahoma City because of what he called inadequate facilities. He said the city should ask developers to include a hotel when submitting proposals for a new convention center.
Mayor Mick Cornett has suggested a new convention center could be financed through an existing sales tax that is currently paying for improvements at the nearby Ford Center, a city-owned multipurpose sports and entertainment venue. The 1% tax brings in about $100 million a year.
The study recommended a new convention center with up to 300,000 square feet of exhibit space and 75,000 square feet of meeting space.