January 28, 2010, Phoenix, AZ…..The Phoenix Convention Center celebrated its first year anniversary this month with a celebration attended by Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, Greater Phoenix CVB President and CEO Steve Moore, Phoenix Convention Center Interim Director John Chan, Arizona Office of Tourism Director Sherry Henry, Phoenix Councilman Michael Johnson and many other dignitaries.

The Center is fresh off a $600 million expansion that has transformed it into one of the largest facilities of its kind in the U.S. All told, the convention center boasts nearly 900,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space. It houses three ballrooms (including the largest one in Arizona), 11 exhibit halls (including one the size of five football fields), and more than 100 meeting rooms (including several with outdoor patios and pre-function space).

But size is only part of its story. User-friendly features at the new convention center include exhibit halls with pre-scored floors, loading bays with air conditioning, a food court with five themed eateries, and a conference center with cutting-edge audio and video technology.

The convention center's three-building, 10-acre campus is adorned with $3.2 million worth of public art, and its West Building has been awarded LEED certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. Artful whimsy and sustainable functionality come together at the convention center's water-harvesting garden, where giant sculptures in a desert garden preside over a recycling process that converts condensation from the heating and cooling system into irrigation water for landscaping.

Groups that previously could not hold a meeting in Phoenix came with high-expectations and thousands of delegates. In 2009 the convention center hosted multiple large-scale events including the NBA All-Star Game FanFest, the National Rifle Association’s Annual Meeting and Convention and the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo. In all, the expanded facility hosted 310,000 delegates representing nearly 70 groups in its inaugural year.

A look into the near future spells more prosperity for this thriving meeting destination as groups seek environmentally friendly facilities, in a desirable destination at a bargain their delegates can’t refuse. In March 2010 the convention center will host the WWE’s WrestleMania Axxess, and Major League Baseball’s All Star Game FanFest in July 2011.