Home » Destinations & Venues » Operation Status and Strategy of Global Top Exhibition Venues 1. The Largest Venue in North America ③ [Global 8] McCormick Place: the Largest Venue as an Exemplary Case of Phased Facility Expansion

Operation Status and Strategy of Global Top Exhibition Venues 1. The Largest Venue in North America ③ [Global 8] McCormick Place: the Largest Venue as an Exemplary Case of Phased Facility Expansion

1. The Largest Venue in North America

③ [Global 8] McCormick Place: the Largest Venue as an Exemplary Case of Phased Facility Expansion

Located in Chicago, Illinois, McCormick Place is the largest venue in North America and opened in 1960. Through continuous expansion of its infrastructure, the facility came to be reborn as a super-large event venue with an indoor exhibition space of 241,548㎡. The number of its current exhibition halls is 11, and it owns 170 or so event facilities including 4 large ball rooms.
Named So to Celebrate the Legacy of Robert McCormick, the Former Editor-in-Chief of Chicago Tribune, Who Was its First Proponent
Located in Chicago, Illinois, McCormick Place was built when Robert R. McCormick as publisher and editor-in-chief of Chicago Tribune recognized the need to build a large exhibition and convention facility in Chicago and made efforts for its construction. The ground breaking realized with financial backing from the state government, but Robert McCormick passed away before the facility was completed. Five years later in 1960, the building was completed and was named McCormick Place in memory of the achievement of the late Robert McCormick.

The First Approval of the Construction of McCormick Place and the Launch of Metropolitan Fair and Exposition Authority (MPEA)
When the state congress of Illinois approved the plan to build an exhibition & convention center in the state in 1955, the State of Illinois government launched Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority which would operate the facility. The Authority is in charge of the operation, management and supervision, and hosting and holding exhibitions, fairs, and conventions in Chicago.

The Birth of an Exhibition & Convention Facility (East Building) that Represented Chicago, the Largest Business City in North America
Five years after the final approval from the state congress, the East Building was completed in 1960. The constructed facilities included an exhibition space of 33,000㎡, 23 meeting rooms, and a theater (5,000 seats), and the state government spent 41.8 million dollars as its budget based on a bond secured to its tax revenue. Following the 1967 fire, the reconstruction project was carried out with an approval from the state government, which increased its exhibition space to 48,500㎡. Later in 1998, an expansion project increased its exhibition space to 53,319㎡, and the construction of Arie Crown Theater with a seating capacity of 4,000 persons was newly built and got its new life in the name of the Lakeside Center.

“North Building (1986) ? South Building (1996) ? West Building (2007)” ? Expansion Continues Every Decade
With full support from the state government and congress, North Building was built in 1986 and South building was added in 1996. The Construction of the North Building created an exhibition and convention venue with a size of 65,594㎡, while the South building increased the exhibition space to 78,038㎡ and the convention space to 14,864㎡. The completion of the West Building a decade later in 2007 secured an exhibition space of 44,149㎡, which gave the current look to McCormick Place. The total space of the convention facilities built in the West Building was 23,225㎡, and with this, Skyline Ballroom, a large space of 9,569㎡, was secured. Meanwhile, facing an increasing demand for convention and lodging facilities, MPEA built in 1998 Hyatt McCormick Hotel (2,019 rooms) to satisfy it, and in 2001, Conference Center was added inside the hotel (21,200㎡/ 5 units with 63 partitioned rooms).

In July 2011, Operator of Exhibition & Convention Facilities Changed to SMG
To reduce the costs for operating its facilities, McCormick Place has since July 2011 entrusted the operation of its facilities with SMG, a private firm specialized in facilities management. According to Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau, the replacement of the operator of McCormick Place has enhanced the efficiency of decision-making and relaxed regulation on price adjustment and labor-management policy, thus enabling speedy provision of services that meet customer needs and expectations. Accordingly, 20 or so exhibitions are going to be held again or anew at McCormick Place, and with these events, total 2.7 billion dollars will be created for next decade in direct spending. MPEA expects that the recent reorganization of its operating staff will not only save facility operating budget but also promote improvement of services with SMG’s specialty and know-how in facilities operation, thus upgrading customer satisfaction.

Holding Large Exhibitions and the Nation’s Representative Events such as NATO Summit and Party Conventions
McCormick Place holds various events from large exhibitions of minimum 50,000㎡ designed to buttress the domestic demand such as International Home Products Exhibition, National Restaurant, Hotel, and Motel Exhibition, and Kitchen & Bath Industry Exhibition to specialized events such as annual meeting of Radiological Society of North America and Graph Expo. In 2012, it accommodated NATO Summit held by the US President and the Democratic Convention toward the 44th US Presidential Election, it demonstrated its status as the largest facility in America.

Creating 65,000 Jobs and an Economic Spillover Effect Worth 8 Billion Dollars on the Regional Economy
The exhibitions and conventions held at McCormick Place are known to exert an economic spillover effect on Chicago and the State of Illinois. According to MPEA, McCormick Place creates 65,000 jobs and an economic spillover effect worth 8 billion dollars on the region.

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