Hickory Metro Convention Center Expansion Moves Forward

HICKORY, NC – Councils joined for a special meeting on Thursday, September 15, 2022, to approve plans of an expansion and renovation to the Hickory Metro Convention Center. 

Hickory-Conover Tourism Development Authority (HCTDA), Hickory City Council, and Conover City Council held a special meeting to approve a joint resolution which supports an expansion and renovation to the Hickory Metro Convention Center.  Hickory Construction Company was the low bidder for the project at $14,040,000 and the Councils approved to award them the bid.  The project will be paid for by Hickory and Conover room occupancy tax revenues.  

HMCC Expansion Meeting 2022“The vision from many of us in the 1980s continues to grow as we have seen the success of the convention center when it opened in 1997, expanded in 2005, and the variety of meetings and events has increased over the years, which is good for business and the community as a whole,” said HCTDA Chair Bruce Eckard.  “The growth led to the need for more hotel accommodations, restaurants, and more.  The expansion is another big opportunity that will bring more conferences and events – from larger meetings to public shows to sports tournaments, which will lead to the need for more hotels because when this next phase is complete, it will bring more visitors to our community which makes it a win for all.”

Hickory Mayor Hank Guess said that the expansion and renovation of the Hickory Metro Convention Center is a major economic development driver in the region.  “It’s partnership that makes our region so strong and all of us working together is key to ensuring that our community continues to build on its solid foundation to ensure the future of our region continues to thrive.”

“The Hickory Metro Convention Center and its role in bringing visitors to the region has made a positive impact on Conover,” said Conover Mayor Kyle Hayman.  “The convention center brings guests to the community to attend a meeting or event, and the organization markets our region as a tourist destination as there are many attractions, including Rock Barn Country Club & Spa in Conover.  All these positive attributes combined will enhance Conover and Hickory and all the surrounding towns in our region.”

HMCC Expansion and Renovation LayoutScott Mitchell is the Design Architect for the project and his team includes:

  • Holland & Hamrick, Architect of Record
  • Brittain Engineering, Mechanical & Electrical
  • Clayton Engineering, Civil
  • Taylor & Viola, Structural

Once completed, the Hickory Metro Convention Center facility will be approximately 165,600 square feet all on one level with 132,000 usable square feet for meetings and events.  There will be approximately 110,000 square feet of interconnected flat floor exhibit space along with ancillary small meeting rooms and pre-function spaces.  Details on the project are below.

An additional 46,194 square feet will be added and that includes:

  • A 35,000-square-foot exhibit hall with 30-foot clear ceiling height and wood flooring which is space for an expo, public show or meeting, as well as space for eight volleyball courts and four basketball courts, and ideal space for cheerleading, gymnastics, and wrestling events.
  • An area that will highlight our furniture manufacturing history is in a 2,500-square-foot space with self-contained restrooms, catering space, outdoor terrace, and video display capability. 
  • The remaining space is for hallways and lobbies, and back-of-the-house storage areas.

Alterations of approximately 30,000 square feet of the original building include:

  • Upgraded finishes, lighting, and sound control in the existing Catawba Rooms (the 2005 addition) and new movable partitions for more efficient operation.
  • Renovated and expanded restrooms to provide new finishes and “touchless” operation.
  • Extended exterior canopy at the existing North Entry, which is the main entrance seen from I-40. 
  • New covered walkway connection from the existing parking deck to the main entrance. 
  • Additional small meeting room.
  • Enhanced video signage and wayfinding.

Hickory Construction Company will begin working with the Design and Hickory Metro Convention Center Teams on pre-construction activities.  The project is expected to be completed in 2024.