(Columbus, February 22, 2016) -- Two construction milestones are reaching completion at the SMG-managed Greater Columbus Convention Center (GCCC) – the Goodale Garage and the Union Station Ballroom.
The first guests were invited to park in the 800-space Goodale Garage beginning February 15 as finishing touches are being made on the $18 million structure replacing the former 192-space North Lot on Goodale Street.
“This beautiful new garage is ideally located to serve our event attendees, as well as our nearby restaurant and community partners in the Short North Arts District,” said Greater Columbus Convention Center General Manager John R. Page.
The garage is fully automated with pay-on-foot stations offering credit card options. Guests also have the option to pre-pay for parking via Parking Panda and other online reservation programs. Special parking is reserved for new and expecting mothers, military veterans and in accordance with Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines. GCCC parking ambassadors assigned to the Goodale Garage assist with guest relations.
In the future, the Goodale Garage will feature electronic signs indicating the number of parking spaces available in the garage. The structure will be connected by enclosed walkway to the convention center upon completion of the venue’s $125 million expansion and renovation in 2017.
The opening of the Goodale Garage brings the total number of parking spaces offered by the Greater Columbus Convention Center to nearly 4,000. There are 875 spaces in the East Lot, 549 spaces in the South Garage and 1,758 spaces in the Vine Street Garage.
The new Union Station Ballroom will host its first client event, the Arnold Sports Festival martial arts, amateur boxing and grappling competitions, on March 5-6.
Formerly the Grand Ballroom, this first-floor ballroom has been transformed into an elegant and versatile space laden with a variety of amenities, including a new color palette, upscale carpeting and wall treatments, and LED lighting treatments capable of presenting a variety to colors to enhance and customize the guest experience. The Union Station Ballroom may be rented in its entirety or divided into three adjacent ballrooms.
The 25,000-square-foot ballroom was named in homage to the Columbus Union Station train station, the first of which opened at the northeast corner of High Street and Nationwide Boulevard in 1850. Many soldiers traveled through the station during the Civil War, visiting nearby Tod Barracks, built in 1863 to accommodate military recruits and sick and injured soldiers. President Abraham Lincoln visited the train station twice before his assassination. In 1865, his funeral train passed through Columbus.
The second Union Station, built between 1868 and 1875, featured seven sets of railroad tracks and arched portals along the 600-foot-long station.
The third and final Union Station opened in 1897 between what is now Convention Center Drive and East Goodale Street. This station was designed by Chicago firm Daniel H. Burnham and Company in the Beaux Arts Classicism style popularized in the 1893 World’s Fair.
The increasing affinity for airline travel following World War II caused an ongoing decline in passenger rail service; the train station was demolished in the 1970s to prepare for the building of convention facilities. One arch was preserved to commemorate the era and is located in McFerson Commons, a park in the Arena District. Additionally, The Cap at Union Station built over the I-670 highway features the award-winning design of Meleca Architecture and was inspired by the train station that preceded it.
“The opening of the Union Station Ballroom provides our guests with another premier space that can showcase events ranging from lavish weddings to large meetings. Its completion is a significant phase in our expansion and renovation project,” said Page. “We are delighted that as part of celebrating our future, we can also pay tribute to the historically significant landmark that preceded us by naming this new space the Union Station Ballroom.”
The Greater Columbus Convention Center, located in downtown Columbus, hosted an estimated 2.5 million visitors in 2015. The facility is owned by the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority and is managed by SMG.
Founded in 1977, SMG provides management services to more than 240 public assembly facilities including convention and exhibition centers, arenas, stadiums, theaters, performing arts centers, equestrian facilities, science centers and a variety of other venues. With facilities across the globe, SMG manages more than 15 million square feet of exhibition space and more than 1.5 million sports and entertainment seats. As the recognized global industry leader, SMG provides venue management, sales, marketing, event booking and programming, construction and design consulting, and pre-opening services for such landmark facilities as McCormick Place & Soldier Field in Chicago, Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, Houston’s NRG Park and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. SMG also offers food and beverage operations through its concessions and catering company SAVOR, currently serving more than 140 accounts worldwide.
Visit www.columbusconventions.com and www.smgworld.com for more information.