Orange County Convention Center

Coordinates: 28°25′38″N 81°27′50″W / 28.4271846°N 81.4639235°W / 28.4271846; -81.4639235
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Orange County Convention Center
Orange County Convention Center.jpg
North concourse of convention center (c.2007)
Address9860 Universal Blvd
Orlando, FL 32819-8706
LocationConvention Center District
Coordinates28°25′38″N 81°27′50″W / 28.4271846°N 81.4639235°W / 28.4271846; -81.4639235
OwnerOrange County Government
InauguratedFebruary 25, 1983; 40 years ago (1983-02-25)
OpenedFebruary 26, 1983 (1983-02-26)
Renovated1987-89, 1990, 1996-97, 1998, 2000-03, 2008
Construction cost
$54 million
($192 million in 2022 dollars[1])
Former names
Orange County Convention and Civic Center (1983-92)
Classroom-style seating
160 (Lecture Hall)
Banquet/ballroom3,600 (Valencia Room)
3,120 (Tangerine Ballroom)
480 (Sunburst Room)
Theatre seating
2,643 (Chapin Theater)
Enclosed space
 • Total space7,000,000 sq ft (650,000 m2)
 • Exhibit hall floor2,055,222 sq ft (190,936.4 m2)
 • Breakout/meeting479,190 sq ft (44,518 m2)
 • Ballroom155,656 sq ft (14,460.9 m2)
Public transit accessLocal Transit Lynx 8, 38, 42, 58, 111
Venue website

The Orange County Convention Center is a convention center located in Orlando, Florida. Opened in 1983 as the Orange County Convention and Civic Center, it is the primary public convention center for the Central Florida region and the second-largest convention center in the United States, after McCormick Place in Chicago.

The OCCC offers 7,000,000 sq ft (650,000 m2) of space, 2,100,000 sq ft (200,000 m2) of which is exhibit space. The complex is located on the south end of International Drive, a major tourist area in Orlando.

The original building (the "West Concourse") housed an 11,300-seat arena from 1983 to 1992. It hosted concerts by popular artists including Madonna, Tina Turner, Whitney Houston, Styx, Aerosmith, Mötley Crüe, and Hall and Oates. Its use declined after the Orlando Arena opened in 1989. The arena closed in 1992 and was renovated and converted into the main exhibition hall in 1996.

On April 18, 2012, the American Institute of Architects's Florida Chapter placed the building on its list of "Florida Architecture: 100 Years. 100 Places".[2] Solar panels on the roof of the South Concourse provide 1 MW of power.

The center is host to hundreds of events annually including IAAPA Expo and MegaCon.


The Orange County Convention and Civic Center (OCCCC) was born out of a 1977 law passed by Florida's State Legislature. The law permit counties to collect a "Tourist Development Tax" on top of regular sales tax on hotel room stays, with the approval of the county's voters, for state-approved purposes. In a special election in April 1978, the voters of Orange County approved a 2% Tourist Development Tax (the limit set by the state) to build a convention and civic center. That August, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) approved a location for the OCCCC in Orlando Central Park, on International Drive, and drew up plans for a 325,000 sq ft (30,200 m2) gross area facility. The following year, BCC and Orlando Central Park agreed to give OCP one cent per taxed dollar of the Tourist Development Tax (TDT) each year for 30 years; in return, OCP would donate land for the initial facility, give the county an option to buy another 45 acres (18 ha) for future expansion, and commit adjacent lands for hotel and tourist development.

Phase I was completed on February 25, 1983, at a cost of $54 million. The Boston Pops Orchestra played at the grand opening on February 26, 1983, and 14,000 people attended the open house on February 27, 1983.[3]

In June 1984, the BCC exercised its 45-acre (18 ha) option for $2 million and began planning Phase II. The TDT was raised to 3% by a state law in 1986, and groundbreaking occurred in February 1987 on Phase II. It was completed in January 1989, adding 150,000 sq ft (14,000 m2) of exhibition space to increase it to 344,790 sq ft (32,032 m2) of total exhibition space, and adding 100,000 sq ft (9,300 m2) of meeting and support space.

That same month, an additional 1% was permitted for the TDT, increasing it to 4%. The BCC approved an additional three phases to the OCCCC (Phases IIA, III and IV), and improvements to the Citrus Bowl, its first non-Convention Center TDT project.

Phase IIA, completed in December 1990, added 100,000 sq ft (9,300 m2) more support space, used largely for office space and registration. The next month, planning for Phase III was begun. By December 1992, "Civic" was dropped from the name, and the facility became the Orange County Convention Center.

Phase III was completed in January 1996, adding 383,400 sq ft (35,620 m2) of exhibition space, at a cost of $219.5 million. Phase IV followed that August at a cost of $198.7 million, adding another 367,200 sq ft (34,110 m2) of exhibition space and about 100,000 sq ft (9,300 m2) more meeting space. A retrofit of Phase I, completed in December 1997 at a cost of $32 million, opened up 8,200 sq ft (760 m2) more. By 1998, the OCCC had 1,103,538 sq ft (102,522.0 m2) of exhibition space over a total building space of over 4 million ft².

In June 1998, the BCC got a fifth cent approved for the TDT, partly for a grand Phase V, which would add a total of 3 million ft² of space to the OCCC. That December, they paid Universal Orlando Resort $69 million for 239 acres (97 ha) of land across International Drive from the original OCCC. The Martinez Convention Center Commission, named after then-Orange County chairman Mel Martinez, was created to oversee planning and construction of Phase V.

Ground was broken on Phase V in August 2000 after a large convention organizer, Reed Exhibitions, agreed to move 42 conventions to Orlando into the new phase. It opened one month ahead of schedule in September 2003. Today, the first four phases are referred to as the "West Building", and Phase V is referred to as the "North/South Building", as it is divided into North and South Exhibition Halls which can be joined to form one large exhibition space or subdivided into six different halls (North A1, North A2, North B, South A1, South A2, South B). The North/South Building has 950,282 sq ft (88,284.1 m2) of exhibition space. Around the same time, the Oversight Pedestrian Bridge was built over International Drive connecting the two buildings.

In 2004, OCCC acted as a staging area for relief operations following Hurricane Charley, Frances and Jeanne. Disruptions to convention operations were minimal, and a feared reduction of convention booking did not occur afterward.

In 2009, the Hilton Orlando, a 1400-room luxury hotel, opened. It adjoins with the South Concourse of the Orange County Convention Center's North/South Building via an elevated, covered pedestrian walkway. The Hyatt Regency, a 1641-room hotel, also connects directly to the Convention Center via the Oversight Pedestrian Bridge and the Hyatt Skywalk. The elevated walkway connects the North, South and West concourses over International Drive and the Hilton Orlando.[citation needed] Rosen Plaza and Rosen Centre, with 800 and 1,334 guest rooms respectively, straddle the West Concourse and also have elevated, covered pedestrian bridges connecting them both to the OCCC as part of Orange County's master plan to improve connectivity and safety for convention-goers.

In Spring 2019 plans were submitted for a 340,000 square foot expansion of the North/South Concourse. [4] In Spring 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic occurred and the expansion was cancelled citing shortfalls in tax collections necessary to fund the expansion. [5]

Facility overview[edit]

The OCCC consists of two buildings joined together by a covered pedestrian bridge. The West Building, opening in four phases from February 27, 1983[3] (with an initial 150,000 sq ft (14,000 m2) of exhibition space) and 1996, is located on the south side of International Drive. The North/South Building, located on the north side of International Drive, was completed in 2003.

In its entirety, the OCCC includes:

  • 2,100,000 square feet (200,000 m2) of exhibition space, including two 92,000-square-foot (8,500 m2) general assembly areas
  • 74 meeting rooms/235 breakouts
  • The 2,643-seat Chapin Theater
  • A 200-seat Lecture Hall
  • The 48,600-square-foot (4,520 m2) Tangerine Ballroom
  • The 62,000-square-foot (5,800 m2) multipurpose Valencia Room
  • Three full-service restaurants/8 food courts
  • Three business centers
  • In-house electric, plumbing, rigging and technical services, plus wireless mobility throughout the complex
  • On-site parking for 6,227
  • Three covered loading docks/173 truck bays

Economic effect[edit]

The OCCC says it hosts events attracting about 1.5 million people annually, injecting $2.5 billion into the Central Florida economy.[6]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ 1634–1699: McCusker, J. J. (1997). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States: Addenda et Corrigenda (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1700–1799: McCusker, J. J. (1992). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1800–present: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved May 28, 2023.
  2. ^ "Start Voting for Your Favorite Florida Architecture!". 2017 People's Choice Award (Florida Architecture).
  3. ^ a b "Lakeland Ledger - Google News Archive Search".
  4. ^ Powers, Scott. "Orange Co. kicks off contracting for convention center expansion". Florida Politics. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  5. ^ Bilbao, Richard (August 31, 2020). "Orange County steps back from convention center expansion due to lack of financing". Orlando Business Journal. Retrieved January 29, 2023.
  6. ^ [1] OCCC Economic Impact