SAG prepared a feasibility study for a convention center to be located in downtown Wilmington, NC. The scope of work included a primary market research, surveys of meeting planners, site analysis, comparable destinations research, facility programming, utilization projections, operating cash flow projections, funding analysis, and economic impact analysis.
Two points became clear from the study: 1) state and regional groups want to meet along the coast of North Carolina and 2) Wilmington could position itself as a premier North Carolina coastal destination. As a result, the study recommended the two-phased development of a convention center and headquarter hotel complex. The phase one recommendation was for a seamless convention complex comprised of a convention center with 52,000 square feet of function space and a new 200 to 300-room convention hotel. The preferred site was downtown. Phase two was to double the exhibit hall to 60,000 square feet should conditions warrant in the future. Construction of the convention center began in December 2007.