It has officially been one year since the Groundbreaking Ceremony, and we are ecstatic to share the latest updates from April.  A year ago, we shared the exciting news about undertaking a $14.1 million project which included plans to expand the convention center by almost 46,000 square feet and renovate roughly 30,000 square feet of existing space.  The $14.1 million will be paid for, through hotel/motel occupancy tax, over the next 20 years – this year’s payments have been made, so 19 more years to go.

Exciting news from the Hickory-Conover Tourism Development Authority (HCTDA), is the decision to approve additional renovations throughout the building and on the convention center campus. The approved additional $2.8 million comes from the authority’s fund balance that is in addition to allocated capital needs, so truly the additional improvements approved will add a little more than $3.5 million to the project as a whole. Combining the amount borrowed and the amount available brings the project total to a little more than a $17.5 million investment. These renovations and the expansion are a necessity for not only conventions, meetings, and events .... this project will bring more visitors to the area which means more overnight stays, and more guests enjoying our restaurants, attractions, and events throughout the region. The late Leroy Lail, former HTDA Board member and proud advocate for the hospitality and tourism industry said, the expansion and renovation is going to be a “win-win for all.”

Hickory Construction Company continues to have dozens of subcontractors working as we get closer to the finish date of Summer 2024! 

Expansion & Addition Update

Expansion - Sports Complex 2024

There are hundreds of details in the expansion area (Multi-Purpose Sports Venue). In April, work with the heating and air units continued as well as electric work throughout this 35,000 square-foot space. The installation of the wooden gymnasium floor did not occur in April and will most likely begin in late May or early June.

Ceiling grid installation and electrical work began in the new corridor that connects the Catawba (renovated) meeting rooms to the new Multi-Purpose Sports Venue. 

The Multi-Purpose pre-function space continues to come together nicely and in April cabinets were installed in the catering kitchen and work in the restrooms continued. The ceiling grid started going up in April and that work will continue in May.  

Catawba Meeting Room Renovation Update

Catawba Meeting Room Renovation Update 2024

The new moveable air walls in the Catawba section were installed in April. Work on those air-walls should be completed in May. 

New wooden doors were installed throughout the Catawba section continuing to help elevate the aesthetic of this renovated space. Through a partnership with the Furniture Manufacturing Academy at Catawba Valley Community College, the seating area located outside of the Catawba Meeting rooms will be taking shape in May. The academy will be helping to craft the seat cushions for this space. 

Additional Updates

As you walk into the main entrance of the Hickory Metro Convention Center to your left you will see that another temporary wall has been removed and the new ticket booth has been redesigned. Work continues in the new Visitors Center brochure area which will be in the middle of the main lobby. The new display racks are almost complete and located between the two brochure racks, there will be a large display screen to show videos highlighting our community's things to do, where to eat, and more.

The meeting room located at the end of the main Hickory hallway, is about 95 percent complete. During April, the carpet and new door were installed leaving just a few more finishing details for the new meeting room to be complete.

The woodwork (shiplap) being installed around the meeting room entrances and screens throughout the building continues and should be complete by early May.  

In May, renovations will begin in the original building (built in 1997) with the installation of new carpet, paint, doors, and more. This is part of the news update where the HCTDA approved additional renovations.

CVB Demo 2024

The Visitors Center, CVB office area, and Economic Development Corporation (EDC) offices were demolished in April and renovation work is underway. The area that once housed the Visitors Center and offices will now be the home to seven offices, one workroom, and a renovated shared kitchen area. The Visitors Center and receptionist will move to the new location inside of the main lobby of the convention center. The EDC office area will receive minor cosmetic updates such as new carpet, paint, and a few other updates to the offices. The renovations to the CVB offices are essential to the continued progress and thriving nature of not only the community but also our flourishing tourism industry. New office space in the CVB will eventually allow for locations for additional staff as our team continues to grow. Updates to the EDC will allow better opportunities to meet and greet existing business leaders and as well as prospective business looking to locate to Catawba County.  

In addition to the Expansion and Renovation Updates 

60 new parking spots - Expansion 2024

JT Russell and Sons out of Conover is working with the City of Hickory and HCTDA on creating 60 new parking spots along 13th Ave. Dr. SE in front of the Hickory Metro Convention Center and work should be complete in May. In addition, this company is constructing a new drive through area by the east side of the building (along the Hickory exhibit rooms) to assist with the customer move in and out process.

Piedmont Roofing is currently replacing the roof on the original building (built in 1997). Work began in March and should be complete in May.  

All of this exciting activity at the Hickory Metro Convention Center gets the facility one step closer to a successful and beautiful completion and as we like to say, “Turning Dirt Is Progress.” Thanks to our staff, clients, attendees and the community for continuing to "Bear With Us!" 

HMCC Campus Map

New Parking Options: Additional parking lots are open on or near the Hickory Metro Convention Center campus. There are three lots: 1. blue, 2. green, and 3. yellow. As always, our parking is free to you. For vendors, the unloading and loading areas have changed a bit as shown on the map above. Please be patient with each other as you are unloading. This "positive interruption" will only be for a short while and we appreciate and thank you for your patience. 

Bear Mascot

Meetings and events are still being held at the convention center during this time of progress. Please remember to "Bear With Us" as we are all a part of this expansion and renovation. A minor inconvenience right now will bring significant growth in the future. If you have any questions, please call 828-322-1335.