I had the good fortune to talk to some people from the local Home Builders' Association the other day and they told me about their experience with the convention center.
Now, I knew they had had some issues, but I really didn't understand what had gone on.
It turns out that every year the Home Builders' Association has their big event and last year it brought out about 3,000 people. They had been in the Community College but had out grown it, so they wanted to book the convention center. Currently, the biggest event I know about at the convention center was the state GOP meeting, which brought in about 1,200 people.
Well, it looked like everything was good with the convention center, until at the last minute the Home Builders got a call saying they had been preempted by ACS, American Consumer Shows, the company having their event right now.
It turns out ACS is a very big company, and SMG manages dozens of other convention centers. They would obviously benefit from having ACS book events at their other convention centers.
So, SMG basically gave ACS the Home Builders' spot, even though SMG had verbally confirmed that the Home Builders' could have the convention center for that date.
Not only that, but SMG gave ACS a 90 day window where no events of a similar nature could be booked. ACS is having their "Home Show" there now, so this would obviously preclude the Home Builders' from having their meeting there. It would also block everyone else in a similar category from having their show there as well.
Even more amazing is that this 90 day window is not a static 45 day before/45 day after period. It can be moved at the discretion of ACS. It can be 30 days before and 60 afterward. It can be 89 days before and 1 day afterward.
It's truly astonishing. The convention center is losing money. They have 7 events booked in the next 5 months.
Members of City Council know all about this and they've done nothing.