Thursday, June 17, 2010

S.E.A. Expects Deficit for Convention Center

Low attendance and less visitor spending are causing Pittsburgh’s David L. Lawrence Convention Center to operate at a deficit in 2010.

The city-county Sports & Exhibition Authority is expected to post a $409,631 operating deficit for the convention center by the end of the year. The SEA runs the center and would need to pay for that loss with its reserves.

Visit Pittsburgh President Joe McGrath says corporations are sending fewer people to conventions and cutting down on hospitality once they get there.

But McGrath says it could be worse for Pittsburgh – it is in many other cities.

“We have fared very well in this economy compared to virtually any destination in America. In 2009, in fact, for hotel occupancy, maintenance, and rate we were in the top 10% of the nation, so we have done extremely well as a destination selling in hard times.

McGrath says the 2010 deficit isn’t likely to shrink because conventions are planned well in advance, but the convention center’s fortunes could change in the next few years.

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