Phase one of ABQ convention center renovations complete

Posted at: 07/09/2013 6:29 PM
By: Ashley McElroy, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Renovations to the Albuquerque Convention Center are one step closer to completion.

Phase one renovations included improvements to the ballroom, like LED lighting, and a brand new kitchen.

The city hopes the $8.6 million in renovations will make Albuquerque a more competitive destination for conventions.

“If we don't continue to improve our product like other destinations do, and they are, then we can't compete,” said Dale Lockett, president of the Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau.

And the kitchen will operate more efficiently.

Before the renovation, kitchen staff had to use the elevator with everyone else, now they'll have their own elevator to bring food to the ballroom.

During the renovations, the staff had to work out of food trailers, but they say they're excited to be back in the kitchen.

“I'm really excited for our carousel ovens. You'll get a slow even bake so everything will come out the same color,” said James Hice, Executive Chef of the Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau.

It's not over yet. Phase two will cost more than $11 million. It will add improvements to the interior of the building reflecting they style of Albuquerque.

“It will now say that you're in someplace different you're not going to be in a cookie cutter, any city in the U.S. you'll know that this place is special. This is New Mexico, this is absolutely Albuquerque,” said Lockett.

Twenty-six groups are scheduled to use the convention center this fiscal year.

Phase two is scheduled to start in September. Those renovations are expected to be finished the summer of 2014.