February 5, 2017
The Austin (TX) Convention Center at Cesar Chavez and Trinity Streets has 247,050 square feet of exhibit space, which is below that of convention centers in cities such as Houston, Denver and Nashville. The Austin Convention Center lost business because of lack of space or booking conflicts, prompting development of an expansion plan.
Tom Noonan, president and CEO of the Austin Convention Center and Visitor’s Bureau, recently shared two payment options with the Visitor Impact Task Force. Funds for expansion would come from the city’s 15% hotel occupancy tax (HOT), which hotel guests pay to fund tourism. Option #1 is to ask citizens to vote on redirecting HOT tax money currently used to pay debt from the 2002 expansion. Option #2 is to raise the HOT tax by up to 2%. There will not, however, be increases in local property taxes to fund expansion.
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