Albuquerque, NM— Standing in front of the closed doors of the renovated ballrooms, Mayor Berry cut the ribbon to officially open the first phase of the Albuquerque Convention Center this afternoon.

“These upgrades are spurring the economic potential of our convention center. We are looking at $21.6 million into the local economy for FY14,” Mayor Berry said. “In fact, we already have a convention booked for this weekend. We are nearly finished with the design work for phase two; this piece of the renovation will make a huge visual difference downtown.”

Phase two of the projected is expected to bid in August. The City of Albuquerque refinanced the debt on the building to fund the $20 Million dollars of work. Phase one cost approximately $8.6M and phase two estimated cost is about $11.6M.

After the ribbon was cut, the media and invited guests entered the ballroom, which features new ceilings, wall and floor treatments, moveable partitions and LED lighting. Most of the other work was behind the scenes, and will increase the effectiveness and efficiency for future events. After touring the ballrooms, Mayor Berry led the group on a tour of the new kitchen facilities.

“The progress at the Albuquerque Convention Center is very exciting because of the significant role it plays in economic generation for our community. For this next fiscal year, Visit Albuquerque has facilitated 26 groups to meet in the Albuquerque Convention Center,” Dale Lockett, President/CEO of the Visit Albuquerque said. “This shows significant improvements compared to last fiscal year with the direct spending impact increasing by more than $10 million.”

Phase two work is estimated to be complete Summer of 2014.

Currently the Convention Center has signed contracts for conventions that will bring thousands of people to the city in 2014 including the Society of Investigative Dermatology, International Cake Exploration Society, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, and the Rocky Mountain Section of American Water Works Association, just to name a few.