Expanded Convention Center Getting a New Feature

The expansion of the Pennsylvania Convention Center wrapped up in 2011 and cost almost $800M; it's the largest public-works project in the history of the state. This effort stretched the Convention Center to North Broad Street and increased the size of the building by about 50%, ostensibly attracting larger conventions that couldn't be accommodated by the original space. The thought was that additional space would mean more conventions, more visitors, and more money in the City's coffers. Sadly, it hasn't really worked out that way.

Convention Center on Broad Street

Don't get us wrong, the Convention Center is improved. The Flower Show keeps getting bigger and better. The Auto Show was awesome this year. And it's true that the Convention Center is doing a better job of attracting and retaining large conventions than it did in the past. But it's just not proving to be enough, especially considering the cost of the expansion. And despite the improved performance, not a single convention has needed the entire million square feet of space available. So the Convention Center is taking on a permanent tenant in their banquet space closest to Broad Street, and that tenant is a laser tag company.

According to a source at the Convention Center, laser tag will only take up a small space, about 20K sqft, and will offer a fun way for people coming in from out of town to blow off a little steam and run around a little. People will be able to access the laser tag through the Convention Center or through a designated entrance on Broad Street, so it will be usable by anyone even though it targets tourists. Given the location and the target audience, it seems unlikely that this concept will detract from the planned laser tag facility at 21st & Washington or the dueling laser tag places coming to Grays Ferry Avenue.

Laser tag!

Clearly, we're experiencing a laser tag renaissance right now in Philadelphia.

Update: This story is definitely not true.

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