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Big Sky Economic Development News

Business leaders hear pitch for new Billings convention center (Billings Gazette)

Mar 18, 2015

A new convention center in Billings would attract thousands more people to stay and shop, consultant Tom Hazinski said Tuesday at the Crowne Plaza.

At roughly $60 million, a convention center would be expensive and likely managed by the city or another public agency, Hazinski told about 35 business leaders during a morning meeting hosted by the Billings Chamber of Commerce.

Without an investment, Billings risks falling further behind other cities, he cautioned. Bozeman is already planning a new convention center, which could lure visitors to Gallatin County and away from Billings, he said.

“Redevelopment is essential if you want to remain competitive in this market. … Your competition is not likely to stay still,” said Hazinski, director of Chicago-based HVS Convention, Sports and Entertainment.

Hazinski conducted a monthslong, $50,000 study of costs and need for a convention center in Billings. The chamber, Visit Billings and the Tourism Business Improvement District, private hotels and the Big Sky Trust paid for the study.

To view the complete story in the Billings Gazette, click here.