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TACOMA, WA-Groundbreaking ceremonies are set for Nov. 1 for the Tacoma Convention and Trade Center.

The 240,000-sf facility will include a 50,000-sf exhibit hall, 23,000 sf of meeting and ballroom space at South 15th and 17th streets between Market and Commerce streets. The project also calls for 650 parking stalls, and includes the private development of a hotel, retail and residential area.

The city council approved the $120.7 million Greater Tacoma Convention Center and downtown parking system expansion financing plan last July.

Funding for the project comes from future revenues-hotel-motel tax and parking fees-generated by the center and expanded parking system. In addition, a state-authorized sales tax collected in Tacoma, Lakewood, University Place, Fife and Pierce County specifically for convention center construction also contributes to the project. None of the revenues could pay for General Fund services, such as police, fire, libraries or parks.

The facility, which links Tacoma’s Downtown commercial district, the Thea Foss Waterway and the University of Washington Tacoma campus, is expected to open in the summer of 2004. Once complete, roughly 275,000 people are expected to visit the facility, fostering an annual economic impact of $55 million. The project is expected to generate between 250 and 350 new jobs.

The development team includes the cities of Tacoma, Lakewood, Fife, University Place and M.A. Morenson.

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