The new design also aims to capitalize on the traditional So-Cal experience by putting attendees “one step away from sunshine,” says Ovrom. But that doesn’t only mean loads of windows. It means understanding and arranging programmatic spaces with direct adjacency to daylight, says Lockwood. The new 97,000-sq.-ft. ballroom—the largest in California—will sit atop the facility and have panoramic views of downtown. “When you’re in this ballroom, you’re going to know you’re in L.A.,” exclaims Ovrom.
“It’s no longer only about square footage and meeting spaces. It’s about how those spaces are arranged and what kind of experience they give you. People want the space to be theirs, about them and tailored to their group.”
An outdoor space adjacent to the ballroom will have a covered roof with rigging capabilities and be open on each end, meaning it can be used rain or shine.
Other major changes to LACC include expanding the West Hall to approximately 355,000 square feet and adding a 1,000-room connected hotel. Though the groundbreaking on the LACC project is slated for early 2016, much is being done to bulk up hotel inventory in the surrounding area already.
“We’ve set a goal of building 4,000 more rooms by 2020,” says Ovrom, adding about 1,700 rooms are currently under construction, including a 900-room InterContinental property and a 350-room W Hotel.
Ironically, the two decades the convention center sat without upgrades may pay off now with the $470 million budget.
“The silver lining in not having done anything with the convention center in 20 years is we have relatively low debt,” says Ovrom, noting the West Hall is paid off,
and the South Hall will be paid off in six years. LACC is also partially funded by a 14 percent transient occupancy tax set by the city. Ovrom adds the plan won’t require raising existing taxes or levying new ones.