Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What do you mean by “completing the Convention Center”?
    The original project approved by voters in 2002 was a “build to the budget” effort. Dramatic and unanticipated increases in construction costs and materials prevented us from fully realizing our vision for the Convention Center when construction began in 2004. A strategic decision was made then to reduce the amount of space with the goal of completing the original plans sometime in the future. We are now at that point.
  2. Why is this project necessary?
    Convention Center user groups, tourism experts and stakeholders have told us that completing the original design is necessary to address their critical needs as well as keep up with current industry trends. Fulfilling the Convention Center’s original design will also ensure that we are able to attract more and larger groups often simultaneously, to Spokane.
  3. How does this benefit Spokane County residents?
    Our Public Facilities District venues are an economic engine for the region. The Convention Center which is owned and operated by the PFD helps account for more than $170 million in economic activity annually and provides more than 1,400 full and part-time jobs. A portion of the sales taxes now collected in Spokane and Spokane County that would normally go to Olympia for other uses would continue to be returned to our area and reinvested in this local project.
  4. How much will this cost?
    Our studies estimate that the Convention Center completion project will cost approximately $62 million.
  5. Will this increase my taxes?
    No. The Convention Center completion will be financed using extending existing tax revenues which your current tax bill will not increase. Included are a one tenth of a cent sales tax and a 2% room tax County-wide. The District will also ask the State Legislature to authorize a fifteen year extension of the state sales tax rebate.
  6. How much space are we talking about?
    91,000 square feet of space will be built to complete the original plans. This includes 18,000 square feet of prime exhibition space, 13,500 feet for multiple use areas, 10,500 feet of flexible meeting areas and approximately the same amount in back of house space.
  7. How will the Spokane River shoreline be affected?
    We are working closely with several conservation and recreation groups with a vested interest in preserving and enhancing the Convention Center’s shoreline and the Centennial Trail. We anticipate making several shoreline improvements that exceed current regulations and provide a positive experience for all citizens. These include restoration of native shoreline plants and pedestrian and bicycle safety enhancements.
  8. What groups are helping plan this project?
    We have had extensive contact with several stakeholders to help move this project forward. They include adjacent property owners, various Convention Center user groups, Spokane River advocacy organizations, recreation groups, state regulators neighborhoods and elected officials. These important partnerships will continue as we progress.
  9. Will public access to the Spokane River and the Centennial trail be enhanced?
    Yes. Our plan calls for improvements to the Centennial Trail adjacent to the Convention Center as well as an outdoor space for public events. A small boat access to the river is also being considered.
  10. Will the public get to vote on this idea?
    We anticipate Spokane County voters will be asked in April 2012 to extend the existing taxes for another ten years to facilitate the financing of the Convention Center completion.
  11. Will the money be spent on local contractors?
    The Public Facilities District anticipates that most of the jobs created by our projects will be filled by local residents.
  12. Is the money that funds the bond payments/construction also used for operations?
    No. The money will only be used for construction.
  13. Do any of the buildings make a profit and if so what do you do with the profit?
    Yes, the Arena and INB are profitable. Operating profits go back into the facilities and help us reach our goal of providing a great guest experience.
  14. How do you plan to handle increased parking needs with the expanded CC?
    The PFD controls over 700 parking spaces adjacent to the CC. These spaces are rarely all filled. We anticipate that this will be adequate to serve the increased business and visitors that result from our improvements and enhancements. Not including our parking areas, there are around 700 additional parking spaces within 2 block radius of the convention center not including on-street parking.
  15. What will you do if this doesn’t pass?
    The PFD is a well-run organization that uses public money wisely. Our proposal will help us stay competitive with other cities and create hundreds of jobs for local residents---this means the community will greatly benefit from our work. However, it is clear that many future events representing millions of dollars will not be held in Spokane if we cannot remain competitive by updating and enhancing our facilities.