Among the hardest hit of industries during the pandemic have been the convention and hospitality industries, which are both important economic drivers in Pasadena.
So it’s no surprise that Pasadena Center Operating Company Chief Executive Officer Mike Ross — who’s in charge of a cluster of facilities and organizations centered around the Pasadena Convention Center — is waxing enthusiastically about Governor Newsom’s June 15 date to eliminate the state’s current COVID-19 safety blueprint and fully reopen.
“It’s our goal that we will be fully open on June 15th,” Ross said this week. “And we will ramp up between now and then. We are super excited, obviously..”
Ross is referring not only to the Convention Center but also to the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, the Pasadena Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Pasadena Ice Skating Center.
In fact, the Pasadena Ice Skating Center will reopen on a limited basis “within the next couple of weeks” because of the loosening of current tier restrictions, according to Ross.
Ross said the expected influx of conventions and entertainment activities will drive bookings at local hotels.
“Our group business is going to drive a lot of room nights into the hotels and we’re excited about that,” Ross said.
Ross and Jeanne Goldschmidt, executive director of the Pasadena Convention & Visitors Bureau, pointed to the production of America’s Got Talent, which is being shot inside the Pasadena Civic Auditorium now.
“‘America’s Got Talent’ not only brings attention to Pasadena from the show’s millions of fans globally, but their presence is welcome by our local hotels, restaurants and businesses,” Goldschmidt said. “Over 1,900 room nights were booked in our local Pasadena hotels and provided a great return to welcoming visitors back to our community in a safe and responsible manner. “.
According to a report included in an October City Council Finance Committee agenda, the Pasadena Center Operating Co. will not begin to make up for lost Transient Occupancy Tax caused by the pandemic until fiscal year 2024.
The tax is paid by everyone who stays at a local hotel.
“The PCOC’s forecasted share of TOT revenue forecast is $5,725,000 which is a decrease in TOT revenue of $5.375 million compared to the FY20 original budget and $2.959 million lower than FY20 actual. We anticipate we will not be back to FY19 TOT revenue until FY24,” the report said.”
During the pandemic, the Convention Center complex was reduced to a few television events, jury empanelment for the district courts, and housing a field hospital designed to cope with pandemic surges.
“We’ve stayed busy, obviously, not nearly as busy as we’d like, but with the restrictions loosening, we feel like we’re going to have a great year,” Ross said.
Currently the first open-to-the-public convention planned for the Pasadena Convention Center is the July 14-18 International Gem & Jewelry Show (InterGem).