Late last year, with a budget shortfall looming on the horizon, Los Angeles city officials considered either dropping or delaying a long-planned expansion of the Convention Center. Six months later, with the budget discussion settled, it seems that the project is poised to get back on track.

A joint report from the City Administrative Officer and Chief Legislative Analyst has recommended that the City Council should continue its partnership with AEG and Plenary Group on plans to renovate and expand the center, with a targeted date of completion in advance of the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Rendering of a redesigned Gilbert Lindsay Plaza at Pico and FigueroaOlin

The project, now expected to cost roughly $1.4 billion to complete, would add 190,000 square feet of new exhibit hall space to the existing South and West Halls, as well as 55,000 square feet of meeting room space, and 95,000 square feet of multi-purpose space. Plans also call for redesigning Gilbert Lindsay Plaza at Pico Boulevard and Figueroa Street into a park-like space.

At completion, the new construction would represent an approximately 45 percent expansion of the Convention Center, giving it more than 1 million square feet of exhibition space. That would improve the facility's competitiveness for larger events versus other convention centers on the West Coast, such as those in San Francisco, Anaheim, and San Diego.

While AEG is still planning an expansion of the neighboring J.W. Marriott hotel complex - specifically a proposed 37-story tower featuring 861 hotel rooms - work on that project is not tied to the expansion of the Convention Center, and is expected to be delayed until economic conditions improve. That change also eliminates the need to build new parking garages at Cherry Street and Bond Street in the short term, as those facilities were expected to accommodate the larger hotel.

View of J.W. Marriott expansion looking northeast from 110 FreewayGensler

The staff recommendation calls for entering into a n early works agreement with the private-sector firms for up to $36.9 million to complete pre-development work, with a final project agreement to occur by early 2025.

Completion of the expansion would need to be completed no later than March 2028, after which point the organizers of the Olympic games would need to occupy the Convention Center to ready it for use as an events venue.

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