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SPOKANE, WA-Although the count is still unofficial, it appears that voters in this week’s elections favor the expansion of the Convention Center.

The passage of two measures, one of which extends part of the hotel/motel tax and sales tax until 2034 and the other which expands the jurisdiction of the Spokane Public Facilities District, will pave the way for the Convention Center revamp.

Concerned it will lose market share and revenue dollars if it is unable to compete with larger facilities throughout the Northwest, Spokane officials have been pushing for the Convention Center expansion for a while now. The facilities district hired design teams in November to provide various options and budgets.

A study updated in 2000 by the city’s consultant, Price Waterhouse Coopers, suggests Spokane needs to increase the 18,000-sf ballroom of its existing convention facilities to 30,000 sf, add 30,660 sf to its 6,840 sf of meeting space and enlarge its exhibition areas to 125,000 sf.

Current plans now call for following those recommendations for the most part, increasing exhibit space from 38,722 sf to 100,000 square feet, increasing the size of the facility’s ballroom from 18,000 to 30,000 sf and adding a parking lot.

Construction cost estimates range from about $80 million to $90 million.

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