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PHOENIX-Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano has given the green light to a $300-million funding package for the $600-million expansion of the Phoenix Civic Plaza convention center by signing into law an appropriation approved last week by the legislature.

Plans for the expansion calls for increasing the downtown facility’s total rentable space from 302,000 sf to 940,000 sf, allowing Phoenix to market itself to 85% of all conventions. The existing convention center is capable of hosting just 50% of the convention bookings.

The three-phase project, slated to be completed by 2009, includes the construction of a new meeting facility on the Civic plaza terrace, the replacement of the plaza’s north building and the interior renovation of the south building. Steve Moore, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau, tells GlobeSt.com that the expansion could bring as many as 250,000 more visitors to downtown Phoenix along with an additional $450 million in revenue from tourism spending.

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