Carmel commissions study in consideration of building convention center

City lacks space for large-group meetings

CARMEL, Ind. - A small convention center could be the next part of the incredible building boom in Carmel, and business owner Keith Snyder thinks it's a logical next step for the city.

"There's nothing really large-volume (in Carmel)," Snyder said. "If you bring in 2,000 people for a convention in Carmel right now, where would you put them? You don't have it. It's a great idea to bring in a facility to open that up."

Mayor Jim Brainard envisions a building with roughly 50,000 square feet that would connect the Arts and Design District with Carmel City Center.

"We don't envision something large like the Indianapolis Convention Center, but very small for meetings in the 1,000, 1,500, 2,000 people maybe, maximum," Brainard said.

The city has commissioned a 90-day study to see if a convention center would be the next logical step in the redevelopment of Carmel's downtown.

A big part of the city's study is to determine how big a convention center it should be and if it could fill a demand in the convention industry in central Indiana that's underserved.

Sean Litke owns this nearby business in another redeveloped area downtown, and despite concerns such as traffic and cost, he likes the idea.

"With a convention center, you can do anything, even gymnastics competitions," Litke said. "Whatever brings more people here."

But first, Brainard said, the city has to know whether the demand exists for a convention center that can bring in more money than it costs to build.

The Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association said it supports Carmel's study and regional growth in the convention business and that visitors don't distinguish between county lines.

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