$26 million conference center could be coming to Paso Robles

An approximately $26 million conference center could be coming soon to the grounds of the California Mid-State Fair.

The city of Paso Robles, the Paso Robles Event Center and Travel Paso, the city’s tourism marketing organization, are exploring the possibility of building a full-scale conference center, which would be the first of its kind in San Luis Obispo County. The Paso Robles Event Center, where the Mid-State Fair is held annually, is the planned site of the proposed venue.

An economic feasibility study conducted by B&D Venues recommends the conference center be a 19,550 square foot building that would include an 11,000 square foot ballroom, six meeting rooms, one board room and pre-function space. If the idea is proven economically feasible, it is anticipated that the developers will begin soliciting bids in 2019 and open the conference center in early 2021.

Construction of the conference center would lead to the creation of 181 jobs in Paso Robles, while the project would create 159 jobs in the city on a recurring basis, according to the economic feasibility study. In 2022, it is estimated the conference center would host 360-410 events with a total attendance of 46,725 to 58,300 people.

In 2022, the project would generate a total of more than $780,000 to various government entities, including $354,000 to the city of Paso Robles. The net valuation of all fiscal impacts over a 30-year horizon is estimated to be $18.2 million, including $7.3 million to the city of Paso Robles.

Meeting planners indicated they would be most likely to use the facility during spring and fall. That would benefit hotels in the area, as summer is when they experience the highest occupancy, the feasibility study states.

Currently, there are more than 700 hotel rooms located within a half-mile of the site. Additionally, nearly 1,400 new hotel rooms are expected to be built in Paso Robles over the next three to five years, according to Travel Paso.

City official say the conference center project will support hotel growth and foster new business in Paso Robles.

“The conference center fills a great regional need and creates a new asset for the community, fair attendees and business,” said Paso Robles Event Center CEO Michael Bradley. “This project aligns with our strategic plan to be economically viable year-round and brings together a unique collaboration among our state agency, city and the private sector to form the ultimate public, private partnership.”

Funding for the project has yet to be explained, other than there being a possible public-private partnership.