By Associated Press - Wednesday, October 3, 2018

ST. LOUIS (AP) - The downtown convention center in St. Louis will get a $175 million upgrade that civic leaders say is necessary to compete for convention business with other Midwestern cities.

The project at America’s Center was announced Wednesday. Highlights include adding 92,000 square feet of exhibit space and a 65,000-square-foot ballroom.

The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission says existing annual payments of about $6 million from hotel tax receipts in St. Louis city and county will continue after the debt is paid off in 2021.

The funding was initially used to build the attached domed stadium used by the NFL’s Rams from 1995 until their departure for Los Angeles in 2016.

As other cities make major investments, hotel room bookings associated with America’s Center are down 30 percent compared to 2017.

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