Expansion and Construction Update (June 2017)
The SMG-managed Florence Civic Center broke ground back in January of 2017 for a multi-million dollar renovation and expansion to include 6 new meeting rooms, a large new pre-function area, outdoor terrace, new kitchen and beautiful renovations to existing spaces. For the past 6 months, crews have been hard at work demolishing existing structure, rerouting sewer tunnels, running new underground plumbing, laying foundation and plotting the expansion. Half a year later, visitors can now begin to envision the new space as guests can now see the exterior steel beams, cinder blocks shaped to outline meeting rooms, and concrete walkways marking new entrances.
“It’s been an incredible transformation so far, especially these last couple months. The first part of the year was mainly preliminary preparations, but now everyone is beginning to see the bigger picture,” said Nick Hooker, Director of Marketing at the Florence Civic Center.
The final completion date for the overall project is slated for early spring of 2018. The expansion project was launched to ensure the Florence Civic Center could aggressively compete in the associations and conference industry. “Although we keep a steady calendar of events, our lost business reports show an increasing need for breakout space. We simply could not accommodate a large number of simultaneous breakouts and thus we’re losing many of the larger meetings and multi-day conferences,” stated Hooker.
Efforts in Florence, SC seem to be paying off quickly for staff. The new meeting space, venue renovations, professional staff and central location off of I-95 & I-20, midway between NY and Miami, has meeting planners buzzing throughout the industry. Staff reports that meeting professionals have been booking personal on-site walk-thrus since past March and reserving event space for 2018, 2019 and beyond.
Have there been any challenges?
“There are many obstacles to an expansion that affect everyday business. There are parking issues, noise complaints, blackout dates, booking conflicts, logistic restrictions, etc. Simply getting guests to the appropriate entry point can prove very difficult. Guests are easily distracted by the heavy equipment and construction site, so they often won’t notice our event parkers or temporary wayfinding signs.”
Are you on track to open on time?
“Yes. We’re currently ahead of schedule just slightly. If we keep pace, we may finish a little earlier than projected. However summer is here, the rain has picked up, and we’re entering storm season so we’re keeping our fingers crossed.”
What’s Next for Staff?
“Booking, booking, booking. We’ll be focused on new business development. There will be an emphasis on booking the new space, but we’ll also continue to utilize the existing space and contract repeat business.”
What’s Next for the Venue?
“We already have a good grasp on the potential Phase 2 and Phase 3 of construction which could be feasible in a few years. Phase 2 would incorporate a very large expo hall, additional ballrooms, and possible hotel extension. Phase 3 would introduce a remodel and expansion to the current arena plus complement with new built-in arena bistros and bars. Of course these plans are not set and won't be happening anytime soon, but maybe one day down the road...”
CONSTRUCTION QUICK FACTS: As of June 1, 2017
Average Workers Per Day: 33
Number of Specialty Trades: 11
175 Safe Days to Date
3 First Aids to Date
1 Incident Report to Date
282 Days Remaining until Completion
25,000 sq. ft. new construction
28,000 sq. ft. renovated space
12,000 sq. ft. new lobby
6 New Meeting Rooms
1 New Kitchen