By Maria Saporta
The Georgia World Congress Center Authority was selected Wednesday to manage the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center.
The Georgia International Maritime and Trade Center Authority approved the selection of GWCCA at a meeting in Savannah on Wednesday. The GWCCA will be responsible for managing and operating the Savannah convention center. It also will work collaboratively with the “Visit Savannah” team in marketing the convention center as a premier business destination, according to Jennifer LeMaster, GWCCA’s director of communications, who issued a press release.
The two authorities will now begin negotiating the details of a multi-year agreement, according to the release.
“We are honored to have been selected to manage the SITCC (Savannah International Trade & Convention Center),” said Frank Poe, GWCCA’s executive director. “We are excited about partnering with their board and all of the hospitality stakeholders to build upon the foundation already in place and attract new and diverse events to the facility.”
Mark Smith, board chair of the Georgia International Maritime Trade & Convention Center (GIMTCA), said he was looking forward to building on the complementary relationship between the Atlanta and Savannah convention centers.
“The Savannah Trade Center has long been an essential resource for the State of Georgia and it is important that we work towards ensuring its continued success,” Smith said. “GWCCA has the ability to take a high performing asset to the next level while simultaneously enhancing the synergies between Savannah and Atlanta.”
The SITCC’s current contractor, SMG, will manage the center until March 31, 2014. GWCCA’s contract will begin on April 1, 2014.
SMG has managed the award-winning facility since its opening in 2000. The GWCCA is working to retain the Savannah staff as well as ensure a smooth transition for the Center’s customers when their new contract takes effect.
The Savannah International Trade and Convention Center includes a 100,000 square foot exhibit hall, a 25,000 square foot ballroom, 13 meeting rooms, a 367-seat auditorium, four board rooms and 1,400 parking spaces on site.
It is located on Hutchinson Island, across the Savannah River from Savannah’s historic waterfront.