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Ask Me About | Jim Downton

Executive Director, Sharonville Convention Center

by Elizabeth Miller Wood

ASK ME ABOUT: Sharonville Convention Center’s new 40,000-square-foot Todd Portune Hall.

WHY WAS THE $24 MILLION EXPANSION NECESSARY? Before our expansion, there existed a “gap” within Hamilton County for event space. Our exhibit hall was 20,000 square feet, and the Duke Energy Convention Center’s smallest exhibit hall was 40,000 square feet. If someone needed more than 20,000 but less than 40,000 square feet, there was no facility that could satisfy them. We were losing business due to lack of availability. The Sharonville Convention Center expansion was necessary to maximize our market share, allowing us to satisfy nearly 70 percent of the available events that meet in the Midwest.

WHAT FEATURES OF THE EXPANSION ARE MOST NOTEWORTHY? Our current facility offers more than 90,000 total square feet, and it’s the largest flexible meeting space in Hamilton County. We put premium carpet in Todd Portune Hall to satisfy the high-end community galas that seat up to 2,000 people for dinner. We also added a one-of-a-kind full bar and restaurant named Northern Lights Café as well as the “grab-and-go” Aurora Marketplace. The days of “concession food” at our convention center are over.

WHAT DOES THE TODD PORTUNE HALL EXPANSION MEAN FOR THE REGION? Our timing couldn’t be more perfect. With the Duke Energy Convention Center closing down July 1 for 18 months of renovations, the Sharonville Convention Center can help maintain the region’s many annual community events and conventions.