Convention center expected to lose more money than first thought

October 04, 2017 06:36 PM

ALBANY - More groups have booked the Albany Capital Center this year than anticipated, but it is also expecting to lose more money than initially projected.

SMG, the company that runs the Capital Center, says it has booked 137 events for 2017. The initial projection was around 95 events. 

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The Capital Center originally was budgeted to lose $4.6 million over the next five years. Now, they plan to lose $5.7 million over five years. Losses are projected to decrease each year over the span.

SMG employee and Albany Capital Center GM Doug McClain says the predicted losses are because of unforeseen operating costs like unforeseen 24-hour security, workers comp insurance and equipment maintenance agreements.

McClain says the convention center model isn't to profit, except in markets like Los Angeles or Chicago, it's to operate at a loss, and to get people here and spending money. He says it would be very hard to break even in a market like Albany.

The model all comes down to a six percent tax charged to people staying in Albany County hotels. The state authority that oversees the Capital Center gets three percent of the six. That goes back towards operating the center. Albany County gets two percent and the Albany County Convention and Visitors Bureau gets one percent.

From March to August, the Visitors Bureau says the Capital Center generated $2.6 million in spending, attracted about 20,000 people and resulted in around $250,000 in state and county taxes.


WNYT Staff

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