Celebrating “Bucket List” City Status at the Convention Center

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STAFF REPORT

11:38 am | May 10, 2019


When hosting events is a daily job, you can probably throw yourself at pretty good party, as did the Pasadena Convention Center last Thursday, May 9 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its renovation and the continuing upswing in local tourism.

Partygoers were treated not only to good food and music but remarks reflecting upon the facility’s value to the local economy and its reputation across the country and abroad.

Dianne Philibosian, Chair of the Pasadena Center Operating Company (PCOC) Board of Directors, led a brief ceremony recounting the story of how and why the $161 million new Convention Center was built, and the success it has enjoyed.

Philibosian then emceed a brief program which included remarks by Don Welsh, President and CEO of Destinations International, who told the approximately 100 attendees not to take the building for granted.

“I get a chance to see centers around the world and what you’ve done is fantastic,” said Welsh, who called the Convention Center a “destination” and Pasadena a “bucket list city.”

“The Pasadena Convention Center is a wonderful asset to the City of Pasadena”, said Michael Ross, Chief Executive Officer, PCOC. “It has brought visitors from around the world to our city, from global leaders, renowned institutions, to engaging consumer events. By providing one of the best meeting and event spaces in Southern California, the Pasadena Convention Center has increased the city’s visitation, economy, hotel room night stays and employment.”

To effectively accommodate the growing demands of high-level events, in 2009, the complex underwent a $161 million expansion by adding a 55,000-square foot Exhibition Hall and 25,000-square foot Ballroom adjacent to the historic Pasadena Civic Auditorium.

Since its inception in 1973, the Pasadena Convention Center has played an integral role in welcoming domestic and international meeting and event planners to Pasadena and those visitors make sizeable contributions to local coffers.

“It’s really important people understand that we are an environment that people want to come to visit,” said Executive Director Jeanne O’Grady Goldschmidt. “They want to bring their meetings here, and the convention center gives us the resources in order to draw them in.”

Last year, scientists from around the globe gathered at the convention center for COSPAR, an international cooperation in the pursuit of scientific research in space. Other events included Great Minds in STEM, Alien Con, Monsterpalooza, Mary Kay and Alta Med Health Services Corporation amongst others. By the end of 2018, the Pasadena Convention Center successfully hosted 322 events and more than 420,000 attendees. In the coming months, the following meetings and events will take place including but not limited to Space Tech, May 2019; LIGHTBOX Expo, September 2019; and the CA Library Association, October 2019.

“When we look at Pasadena with its 600 restaurants and new hotels opening,” Mayor Terry Tornek told the revelers, “we understand that a good part of that is supported by work that is done by the Convention Bureau, so we salute you on your tenth anniversary.”