Nearly $200 Million Project Exceeds City’s Target of 30 Percent Minority and Women Business Participation

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland was joined by the Memphis Convention Center Board of Commissioners, its construction committee, Memphis Tourism leadership and members of the hospitality industry to formally kick-off the renovation of the Memphis Convention Center.

Memphis Convention Center Project Overview Video: 

The work over the next two years will make Memphis competitive in the meetings and conventions market, while complementing the already strong leisure market segment. The vital civic project will transform the city’s convention center into a modern showplace that will not only preserve its status as a major economic engine for our city, but grow it.

“This renovation is another prime example of the momentum we are gaining in Memphis, and we are incredibly proud of the significant inclusion of small, minority and women owned businesses who will participate in this project,” said Mayor Jim Strickland. “This will allow us to go out and recruit more conferences, events, and ultimately more people coming to our city and spending money with our local businesses and hotels.”

Scheduled to be completed by the Fall of 2020, this game changing project for the tourism industry is being funded through the hotel/motel tax and Tourism Development Zone (TDZ) funds. W.G. Yates and Sons submitted the lowest bid in November 2018 and will serve as the contractor for the nearly $200 million project,  the largest civic project since FedExForum was constructed when Memphis secured an NBA franchise. Approximately $44.5 million will be spent with minority and women business enterprises – or MWBE’s, according to City of Memphis estimates. That surpasses the city’s MWBE goal of 30 percent, coming in at almost 33 percent.

LRK of Memphis and tvsdesign partnered to develop a design plan that utilizes and enhances the existing city owned facility. When complete, the Memphis Convention Center will feature a column free 118,000-square-foot main exhibit hall, a new exterior concourse and pre-function space, 46 breakout rooms, a secondary flex space that easily converts to a 67,500-square-foot ballroom, the largest in the region, and a 28,000-square foot ballroom to host smaller events. The renovation will also include public art, and digital wayfinding, and additional loading docks for easier load in and load out for a show.

“We’re remodeling this facility with meeting planners and their delegates in mind. When complete, we’ll have modern enhancements throughout the redesigned Memphis Convention Center, including a grand new entrance, high-end finishes, more breakout meeting rooms and floor-to-ceiling windows that treat visitors to natural light and stunning river views,” said Kevin Kane, President and CEO of Memphis Tourism, the official destination marketing organization for Memphis & Shelby County that also operates and manages the facility through Memphis Management Group, a subsidiary of Memphis Tourism.

Conveniently located on the Main Street trolley line within walking distance of restaurants, hotels, shops, entertainment venues and businesses, the Memphis Convention Center easily connects with the Pinch District, Downtown Core, South Main Arts District and Beale Street. With a reimagined convention center on the horizon, Memphis is currently seeing a significant amount of new hotel development with 13 hotels under construction or in planning the planning phase, putting an additional 2,000 new hotel rooms in the pipeline for the downtown central business district, according to the Downtown Memphis Commission. A total of $4 billion in new office, retail, hotel and residential development is currently planned all across downtown Memphis.

The Memphis Convention Center and the adjoining 2,100 seat Cannon Center will continue to host events and be open for business during the renovation. Visit for more information on the Memphis Convention Center, explore future floor plans, an architectural rendering gallery and a video virtual tour of the renovated facility.

For an animated architectural rendering of the renovated Memphis Convention Center or other digital assets, please visit this link to the Memphis Tourism photo and video library