The center, built in 1993, is currently at 640,000 sf.Construction of the expansion will generate at least $10 million ayear in state income tax, says Michael J. Masch, state secretary ofthe budget and board member of the Convention Center Authority.Once completed in 2010, Masch expects it to generate almost $1.1billion per year in spending.

"Supporting this expansion is vital to our goal of improving thestate's economy by investing in jobs and stimulating travel to thecommonwealth," says Gov. Ed Rendell.Some 40% of the total hotelroom nights used each year in the city come from conventions--thenational average is just 27%. That works out to an extra 280,000room nights per year and an extra $140 million in regional economicactivity.

"The convention center has been a huge hospitality engine forPhiladelphia from the time it opened in 1993," says PhiladelphiaMayor John Street. "Its expansion will only enhance that momentumand help us move full speed ahead as a premier tourismdestination."

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