A national real estate consultant says a 2005 expansion and continued downtown growth give the Grand Wayne Convention Center in Fort Wayne a better opportunity to host larger conventions and attract more visitors. The report also suggests more hotel rooms in the area could boost the venue's long-term growth.

March 26, 2015

News Release

Fort Wayne, Ind. — A consultant's report on potential strategies for maximizing the economic impact of the Grand Wayne Convention Center concludes the building's expansion has proved successful, and foresees more growth as downtown renovation builds momentum.

Hunden Strategic Partners (HSP) cites the addition of new restaurants, entertainment and riverfront attractions as improving the opportunity to host larger conventions that attract more visitors.

Grand Wayne Executive Director Bart Shaw says the study confirms the Grand Wayne's expansion in 2005, and improving the downtown area, are wise community investments. “Downtown Fort Wayne has earned a reputation among meeting and convention planners as being affordable, yet offering high-quality services, accommodations, dining and entertainment in a safe, welcoming downtown environment.”

HSP evaluated market conditions, competition, demographics and survey results to conclude that the Grand Wayne Center successfully weathered the recent recession and a severe downturn in the meeting and convention business.

According to HSP, maximizing the long term economic impact of the Grand Wayne Center would be greatly enhanced by increasing the number of hotel rooms nearby:

“Currently, the largest walkable room block that can be assembled is 350 rooms. In order to reach that next level of events, the GWCC would need to offer a 500-room block. This could occur with at least 200 more hotel rooms.”

“We've established a reputation as a premier convention destination in the Midwest by drawing business away from much larger convention centers,” Shaw said. “With development and all the energy surrounding downtown Ft. Wayne, I'm confident the Grand Wayne can compete to attract larger national gatherings.”

HSP also identified opportunities to improve or expand current space within the Grand Wayne's existing footprint.

The consultant's report is under review and will provide useful information as decisions regarding the strategic direction of the Grand Wayne Center are made.

Source: City of Fort Wayne

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