Our Convention Center Rises From The Ashes

Literally
BY: BILL DING

Our convention center was built for us by our federal government back in 2002 in order to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC). We were chosen because we are so isolated here that we could cut off the usual protestors who were expected to caravan down the peninsula. But it was a last minute decision and the building was erected by mostly imported employees, and in record time.

Still, it turned out rather well.

Then this beautiful professionally designed 123,000 square foot building was turned over to we locals. And for 16 long years we’ve sat on our hands and done almost nothing with this gem. A few small government events were held there. It was clear our city fathers didn’t know what to do with it, so they let it go to seed. Literally. The outside walls were beautifully planted in a vertical garden which of course went to hell. Then bad electrical connections to the solar panels on the roof poofed up in flames, damaging the roof and destroying a large portion of the façade in one corner. This could be seen from the highway, as the building sits up on a hill overlooking the toll road to the airport. It was ugly and embarrassing we were disrespecting it and losing tourist dollars conventions could have brought in. Even the hotel ass. which would have benefited most from using the building, were silent. They didn’t know what to do either

The fact is that in the real world one of a handful of professional event space sales companies would have been hired years before the ground was even broken. Large companies that would be good candidates book their conventions five and even more years in advance.

About five years ago our city became semi-conscious and did put out bids to leasing companies, but then cancelled that. Then it was back to sleep.

Lately the building has been looking better, repairs have been made, and we’re going to try this again.

This facility can compete on the world stage. There are soundproofed conference rooms broken up into flexible spaces for large and small events, food preparation facilities, good audio and video technology, (well, 16 year old technology now). Good signage to avoid confusions or conference overlaps, and it’s all very ecologically sound. The living wall is even showing signs of life again.

The city is now partnering with ActIdea, a Mexican company that promotes events, and with IFEMA, a company in Spain that boasts of more than 30 years as a trade fair organizer, from fairs organized by third parties, to conventions, congresses and any other type of meeting or event.advertise themselves as experienced ,“with generating wealth and development for Madrid and promoting and projecting the image of Madrid within and beyond our borders.”

Well, we’re getting there. Just don’t expect the next Mary Kay convention or any other convention from the United States.