TOLEDO, Ohio — For the better part of three years, the old SeaGate Centre has been transformed into the new Glass City Center.
Now, leaders are finally ready to invite the public inside to see what's new and improved.
Years after a study identified the need for an additional ballroom at the SeaGate Centre, the $70 million expansion and renovations are now complete at the renamed Glass City Center, Steve Miller, the general manager of the Glass City Center and Huntington Center, said.
Local leaders say it was the obvious next step for downtown development following the Fifth Third Field and the Huntington Center.
"We call it the urban trifecta," Miller said. "There's very few, we call them minor league communities, that have a ballpark, a convention center and an arena within a block of each other."
Along with upgrades throughout the facility, new public art on display inside and upgrades to the 75,000 square-foot hall for major events, the centerpiece is the new 16,000 square-foot ballroom that can accommodate up to 900 people.
Miller said the upgrades have already landed conferences and conventions that haven't been in Toledo for nearly two decades.
"All of those things and all of the restaurants and bars and opportunities downtown now, they're all within walking distance," he said. "15 years ago we didn't have all of that. And now it's all congregated right here together and I think it makes it a great package for us to sell."
The hope is that the Glass City Center can continue to draw in returning and new visitors moving forward.
"The estimated attendance at the convention center is about 125,000 people per year," Miller said. "Our goal is to double that within the next 5 years. And we think there's going to be over $800 million in economic impact that's going to come to the downtown and the surrounding areas within the next 10 years just by bringing all of these people to town."
The Glass City Center is hosting a free open house on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. featuring free food and drinks, live music and old SeaGate Centre souvenirs.