Major Expansion Ahead for The Raleigh Convention Center

Main entrance of the RCC as people walk by.

The Raleigh Convention Center is growing! In the coming years, The Complex will welcome the following:

  • Expansion of the Raleigh Convention Center (2028) 
  • A brand new 550-room Omni Hotel (2027)
  • Relocation of Red Hat Amphitheater (2026)

For information on these developments, see below.

EXPANDING THE FUTURE OF LIVE EVENTS IN RALEIGH

EXPANSION

RCC To Grow By 300,000 Sq. Ft.

Designing is now underway for the $387.5 million expansion of the Raleigh Convention Center and relocation of Red Hat Amphitheater. The highly anticipated convention center expansion is anticipated to open in 2028 and will include approximately 80,000 square feet of flexible event space and 30 meeting rooms.

LATEST NEWS

 

RELOCATION

Red Hat Amphitheater To Get New Home and New Look

Current Location

Red Hat Amphitheater currently sits on the expansion site for the Raleigh Convention Center. The convention center expansion project is currently in the design phase with an anticipated opening in 2028.

Amphitheater Size

The amphitheater currently has a capacity of 6,000. In order for the amphitheater to maintain its current position in the market and its ability to continue attracting national artists and promoters, the new venue must remain at least this size.  The footprint for the new amphitheater must also provide ample space for ingress, bathroom facilities, concession space and other critical operational elements. 

Future Location + Street Closure

The early conceptual design for the amphitheater anticipated that the new venue could be accommodated by closing Lenoir Street between Dawson and McDowell and combining that right-of-way with the City-owned gravel lot between Lenoir and South Streets. Further analysis revealed that this configuration was not viable as it would be more costly, result in a significant reduction in capacity from the current venue, and would not yield a site large enough to accommodate either the back-of-house or the front-of-house amenities required for the venue to be considered functional.

As a result of these analyses, the site was reconfigured to incorporate the portion of South Street between Dawson and McDowell and the lot adjacent to the railroad tracks and immediately south of South Street. It was determined that this site provided the only avenue for the project to advance in any manner.

South Street currently sees 1/3 of the traffic it was intended for (3,300k cars vs 10k cars). Lenoir Street gets 2,650 cars (250 cars/hour) and if you combined Lenoir Street’s traffic with South Street’s traffic, Lenoir Street would still only be at 50% capacity for the size of the two-lane road.

The intention for Lenoir Street would be to redesign it with the convention center expansion on one side of the street and new amphitheater on the other, creating an inviting curb-less street in the center and enhancing bike and pedestrian movement. 

Using city-owned land, the creation of a pocket park is also proposed at the intersection of Dawson and South Streets, which could be incorporated into the Heritage Walk/Chavis-Dix Strollway project and encourage walking, biking, and socializing along the pathway.

Timeline

Groundbreaking for new amphitheater is anticipated for the 1st quarter of 2025. The current amphitheater will operate through the 2025 season, preventing the loss of an entire concert season. The new amphitheater is anticipated to open for the 2026 season.

Economic + Community Impact

Red Hat Amphitheater serves as a significant employment center, directly supporting 130 staff positions on event days. The venue also provides significant economic impact and in 2023 produced $17,582,033 in total economic impact from 26 concerts. In 2023 total attendance was 140,000 which yielded 65,189 overnight visitors. For the 2024 concert season, we have welcomed 162,000 music lovers.

Philanthropic events such as the annual Band Together fundraiser, which has raised $13 million to-date in support of 150 Triangle area non-profits are also hosted at the venue. The annual holiday ice rink also supports local non-profit organizations including Helping Hand Mission, Triangle Spokes, Wake Up and Read, Note in the Pocket, and the Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC. Themed community nights featuring holiday craft markets and local breweries are also hosted during the holiday ice rink.

HOTEL

Omni Hotel To Bring 550 Rooms

Welcoming The Omni to Downtown Raleigh

OMNI Hotels and Resorts logo

The Omni Raleigh Hotel is anticipated to include 550 guest rooms and 55,000 square feet of meeting space, which will allow for larger events to take place downtown and support the growth of the Raleigh Convention Center expansion. The hotel will also feature several food and beverage outlets, a rooftop pool, a signature Mokara spa and a fitness center.

LATEST NEWS

CLIENT ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS

The Raleigh Convention Center has formed a Client Advisory Board of industry experts to solicit feedback to influence and shape the future of the Raleigh Convention Center’s existing building and expansion.

 

Headshot of Michael S. Broder
Michael S. Broder
President, GalaxyCon, LLC
Headshot of Jon Curran
Jon Curran
Group Director of Live Event Operations, ESL FACEIT
Headshot of Dawn Delventhal
Dawn Delventhal
Senior Director of Conferences & Events, Humane Society of the United States
Emily Dunn's headshot
Emily Dunn
Sr. Campaigns and Events Specialist, SAS
Headshot of Sherry Fadool
Sherry Fadool
Executive Director, Triangle Volleyball Club
Headshot of Carolina Griffin
Caroline Griffin
Event Planner Lead, FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies
Headshot of Malinda Harrell
Malinda Harrell
Director of Sales, Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau
Trisha LaPaglia's headshot
Trish LaPaglia
Sr. Director of Employee Experience and Global Spaces, Pendo
Headshot of Jamie Parreco
Jamie Parreco
Director of Meetings, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography & Interventions
Headshot of Marisa Roberge
Marisa Roberge
Director of Global Conferences & Events, nCino
Headshot of Wendy-Jo Toyoma
Wendy-Jo Toyoma
Chief Executive Officer, American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
Headshot of Megan VanDam
Megan VanDam
Director of Event Services, American Trucking Associations
Headshot of Nadine Vargas Stewart
Nadine Vargas Stewart
President, NVS Events LLC
Headshot of Jackie Wilcox
Jackie L. Wilcox
Director of Corporate Events, Big Rock Sports
Headshot of Kris Wyatt
Kris Wyatt
Marketing and Conference Director, North Carolina State Firefighters’ Association

LATEST NEWS

For the latest, follow the Raleigh Convention Center on LinkedIn.