Convention centre's €110m boost
THE Convention Centre Dublin, which officially opens its doors for business today, already has bookings for more than 150 major events, worth an estimated €110m to the local economy.
Despite difficult conditions in the corporate conference market, the new facility's chairman, Dermod Dwyer, has said he is confident that the centre will be profitable within three years.
Taoiseach Brian Cowen will declare the centre officially open at noon today while travel agents and other potential clients are to attend a gala dinner and view the facilities the new venue has to offer this evening.
A further 120 top global conference buyers, who have €500m worth of business on their books are also in Dublin as part of a business drive to coincide with the opening of the Docklands-based centre.
Built at a cost of €380m, the futuristic building on the river Liffey, designed by Irish-born architect Kevin Roche, can accommodate up to 8,000 delegates and includes a 2,000-seat auditorium, 4,500sqm of exhibition space and banqueting facilities for up to 5,000 guests.
Over its six floors, there are 22 meeting rooms, as well as an extensive carpeted room, with capacity for more than 3,000 conference delegates or up to 2,000 diners.
Spencer Dock Convention Centre Dublin Ltd (SDCCD), led by Richard Barrett and Johnny Ronan of Treasury Holdings and Harry Crosbie of the Point Village, will run the centre for the next 25 years until it reverts to State ownership.
Under the public-private partnership agreement, the State, through the Office of Public Works, will pay the company an annual charge of approximately €47m or about €3.9m a month for the first five years, and just under €24m for the next 20 years.
It is hoped that the convention centre will have a financial spin-off over and above the spend of individual delegates or visiting companies and will ultimately sell Dublin and Ireland as an appealing place to do business.
Hotels in the docklands area have already said that bookings have been considerably boosted by forthcoming events at the centre.
The first major conference, organised by the Construction Industry Federation, entitled The Economics of Ireland's Recovery, gets under way this Friday.