The eastside Colorado Springs Event Center expects bigger to be better.
The nearly 6-year-old center launched construction this month on an expansion that its operators say will double the venue to about 90,000 square feet and allow it to play host to additional shows and events.
"Everybody wants more square footage," said Kevin Hummer, CEO of RJ Promotions in St. Joseph, Mo., an event management company that operates the venue. "It's more income to them, so they can do more marketing and they can do more advertising and they can have more income."
The Colorado Springs Event Center - which has been home to gun and knife shows, pet expos and boat and RV exhibits, among other events - occupies a former Longs Drugs in the Rustic Hills North Shopping Center, northeast of Academy and Palmer Park boulevards.
Now the venue is adding a second exhibition hall in the vacant Albertsons next door; the two halls will be separated by walls yet linked via a ramp that will allow event-goers and exhibitors to walk from one to the other, Hummer said.
The new space is expected to open July 31, he said. Hummer declined to disclose the cost of the expansion.
The additional space will provide flexibility, he said. One event could occupy both halls, or the center could host two separate shows simultaneously, Hummer said.
The venue's 90,000 square feet already has attracted new users, Hummer says.
A recreational vehicle show that's new to the market has booked both exhibition halls for three separate dates, he said.
In late August, the center will play host to the Colorado Springs Comic Con - a comic book and science fiction event - in both halls. It's the first time the event center will host the Comic Con, and Hummer said he couldn't have booked the event without the larger space.
"A lot of the shows that you know in this market, they want larger shows, they want more square footage," he said.
Hummer's company leases the space from the shopping center owner, which El Paso County land records show is a Denver limited liability company. He said he recently renewed his lease for another 10 years.
The larger event center is expected to provide a venue to accommodate shows that had been going to the 55,000-square-foot Mortgage Solutions Financial Expo Center on North Nevada Avenue. That venue is set to close this summer when its building is taken over by the National Cybersecurity Center.
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