Denver meetings and events got a big boost on Nov. 3 when voters overwhelmingly approved funding to expand Colorado Convention Center. The special initiative also calls for construction of the new National Western Center, which will host entertainment events and include educational facilities.

The convention center’s expansion and upgrades will include 85,000 sq. ft. of new flexible meeting space and 120,000 sq. ft. of new prefunction and service space, including a 50,000-square-foot outdoor terrace on the convention center roof. The prefunction and outdoor event spaces will have spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains and Denver skyline. Technology will include increased capacity for Wi-Fi and streaming video.

“We’re thrilled to have the support of the people of Denver behind our city’s convention and tourism industry” said Richard Scharf, president and CEO of Visit Denver.

“We are just completing a master plan for the Colorado Convention Center, and now with the voters’ approval we should be able to put out an RFP for an architect by the end of the year,” Scarf said. “We have established what we need, and now we will move ahead with the final design and construction.”

Suggested improvements were identified from a year-long study by Strategic Advisory Group,  which reached out to more than 120 meeting professionals, industry leaders and community stakeholders to develop goals.

“We are very pleased with the preliminary designs as they really capture the Rocky Mountain spirit and take advantage of Denver’s fantastic views and year-round mild weather,” said Rachel Benedick, vice president of sales and services for Visit Denver. “With expansion on the reinforced roof area, we anticipate very little impact to conventions during this time.”

No timeline has been announced regarding the completion of the expansion.   

The convention center turned 25 in June.

It generates more than $500 million in annual economic impact, totaling more than $4.8 billion since the center was expanded in 2004. Downtown improvements complement the venue. More than 3,000 hotel rooms will soon be located within one block of the convention center, with nearly 10,000 hotel rooms within walking distance expected by the end of 2016.