Feb 22, 2023 - Business

Raleigh Convention Center would move Red Hat Amphitheater to grow

A rendering of a new convention center which would stand in Red Hat Amphitheater's current location. Rendering courtesy of the City of Raleigh

Raleigh city officials want to move Red Hat Amphitheater a block south and build a second convention center building where it currently stands.

Driving the news: Kerry Painter, the executive director of the Raleigh Convention Center, presented a $425 million vision to double the convention center in size to the Wake County Board of Commissioners on Monday.

  • Red Hat was always meant to be a temporary space in downtown, but due to its success over the past decade, city officials want to find a way to keep it.

Why it matters: Raleigh frequently loses events to peer cities — like Charlotte, Nashville and Austin — with larger convention centers, Painter told the commissioners.

  • Plus: A lack of hotel rooms near the convention center is also a pain point, she added.

The city is currently in negotiations with developers over building a 400-plus room hotel on a parking lot in front of Duke Energy Center for Performing Arts to aid an expanded convention center.

Data: JLL via Raleigh Convention Center; Note: Walkable rooms are those within a quarter mile of a convention center; Chart: Axios Visuals

What we're watching: Wake County and the city of Raleigh have looming decisions to make about the future of two of its largest tourist magnets: PNC Arena and the Raleigh Convention Center.

  • Both need significant upgrades to stay competitive and both will by vying for the limited funds that come from the interlocal fund — a pool of money collected from hospitality taxes that must be put toward tourism-related projects.

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