Governor Kemp and Local Leaders to Officially Break Ground on Savannah Convention Center Expansion Project

Monday, March 15th, 2021

On Wednesday, Governor Brian Kemp will join local leaders and VIPs to officially break ground on the Savannah Convention Center expansion project. 

The groundbreaking marks a milestone in the project’s history that dates back to 2017 when the Georgia General Assembly allocated the initial funding for the planning and design of the Savannah Convention Center expansion. During construction, the Savannah Convention Center will remain fully operational, continuing its more than 20-year track record as Coastal Georgia's premier event and convention destination.

“The groundbreaking is a pivotal moment for the Savannah Convention Center, the region, and Georgia as a whole, as we all work to rebuild and rebound from a tumultuous year,” said Savannah-Georgia Convention Center Authority Chairman Mark Smith. “We cannot stress enough how thankful we are to Governor Kemp, members of the General Assembly, and our local leaders who have worked tirelessly over the years to secure funding for this project. The expansion will help spur economic development in Savannah and Coastal Georgia while providing the state with an incredible return on its investment.”

The groundbreaking ceremony will take place on Wednesday March 17 at 3:30pm along the waterfront on the west side of the Savannah Convention Center.

“The expansion of the Savannah Convention Center will open up our city to new and larger prospective meetings, conventions and events that have been too big for us in the past,” said Visit Savannah President Joe Marinelli. “Savannah has become one of the top visitor destinations in the country and now will be able to compete for more conventions than ever before. And with Savannah already being in high demand on weekends, the larger building will help us increase occupancy and visitor spending Sunday through Wednesday.”

The $271 million dollar expansion project will double the current exhibit hall space to 200,000 square feet, add a 58-foot-wide glass hangar door, construct a 40,000 square foot ballroom, add 15 additional meeting rooms, and a 900-space on-site parking garage. These additions will make the Savannah Convention Center capable of accommodating larger, more complex events and conventions. Construction is scheduled to be completed in 2023. Once complete, the Savannah Convention Center will be the 72nd largest convention center in the country. Currently, the Savannah Convention Center is the 153rd largest.

“The entire Savannah Convention Center staff is grateful for the funding we have received from the General Assembly and the work done by Governor Kemp,” said Savannah Convention Center General manager Sherrie Spinks. “With an expanded facility, we will become the 72nd largest convention and event center in the country and one of the largest in the southeast. More space and improvements to the facility will allow us to attract more events, visitors, and dollars to Georgia from across the country.”  

To date, the Georgia General Assembly has allocated $93 million in funding toward the project, beginning in 2017 with $3 million in funding for planning and design. In 2019, Governor Kemp established the Savannah-Georgia Convention Center Authority along with $20 million in funding for the final design and pre-construction. In 2020, the General Assembly included $70 million in the FY2021 state budget to begin initial construction. This year, the Governor’s proposed FY2022 budget includes $90 million for the project.