BVM August, 2016 - page 103

Business View Magazine - August 2016 103
spearheaded by three governing partners: the City of
Columbia, Richland County, and Lexington County. A
commissioned study showed that there was a need
for a space that could accommodate the larger events
that couldn’t fit into any of the local hotels. “There was
an agreement that was signed among the three en-
tities approximately two and a half years before the
opening of the building,” Stone says. “Each agreed to
start charging three percent on each hotel room and
to use that money to fund the debt and the operating
expenses for a convention center. And when the actual
construction started, bonds were sold.”
Today, the Center operates under the auspices of the
Midlands Authority for Convention, Sports & Tourism,
which is the umbrella organization over the CMCC, the
Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) and the Sports
Council. “The CVB and the Sports Council basically do
the same thing,” says Stone. “The CVB looks for meet-
ings to come to the area and the Sports Council looks
for sporting events to come to the area.” Out of the
Midlands Authority’s 52 employees, 35 work for the
Convention Center alone.
Because of its size, the CMCC is referred to as a “bou-
tique” facility. It doesn’t host many large consumer
trade shows; its clients tend to be smaller regional as-
sociations, and local organizations and groups. “We
do everything from the bar exam for the Supreme
Court of South Carolina to a Congregational Synod,”
Stone says. “We do about 350 events a year – some
are daily events; some are several days. We structure
our booking policy so that hotel room night events
get preference over the amount of time or how long
out they can book in the building. And then the local
events, we don’t book those before a year out. Thus,
we try to give the break for the availability for dates to
the people that actually pay the freight through the tax
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