Albuquerque, NM— Crashing a hammer through a sheetrock wall, Mayor Berry kicked off the renovation on the first phase of the Albuquerque Convention Center this afternoon.

Most of the work being done is behind the scenes to the public, but which will increase the effectiveness and efficiency for future events, as well as update the existing ballrooms.

“The ultimate goal is to make this a more attractive facility to hold larger scale conventions,” Mayor RJ Berry said.  “We expect phase two will bid by the beginning of the summer, and that phase has a majority of the exterior renovation that everyone will see.”

The City of Albuquerque refinanced the debt on the building to fund the $20 Million dollars of work taking place in two phases.

"The investment in improving our convention facility is critical to Visit Albuquerque’s efforts to generate millions of dollars of direct economic spending and increased gross receipts taxes paid by out-of-town attendees.  All of which help provide jobs for Albuquerque in our hotels, restaurants, shops and attractions," stated Dale Lockett, President/CEO of the Visit Albuquerque.

Phase one work is scheduled to be complete August 26, 2013. Phase Two work is estimated to be complete Summer of 2014.