Touted as “where Mississippi meets the world,” the new $65 million Jackson Convention Complex (JCC) is putting Mississippi’s capital city on the map — both figuratively and economically.
“The Jackson Convention Complex is crucial to our local economy,” stated General Manager Linda McCarthy. “Convention business means large crowds, which means more business for our hotels, restaurants and retail establishments. It also means more local jobs, and more traffic for our airport and area attractions. The Jackson Convention Complex will truly serve as a catalyst for an economic boom in the City of Jackson and surrounding areas … [and] it will have a significant economic impact on the entire state.”
For the grand opening festivities on Jan. 17, meeting planners from Virginia, New York, Florida and Alabama — each representing potential business of at least 1,000 rooms per night — were invited for a familiarization tour.
“The Jackson Convention Complex makes the city more competitive in luring new meetings and trade shows to the city,” explained JCC Chairman Fred Banks. “[It] will finally allow Jackson, Miss., to participate in the lucrative tourism and convention destination industry enjoyed by many southern cities.”
The center’s inaugural event, The Motor Trend International Auto Show (Jan. 23-25) was expected to draw big crowds and large dividends. The final impact is yet to be calculated, but it marked the first time organizers chose to meet in Mississippi. Other groups on the books, such as the National Cheer Stars and Mississippi Department of Education, are projected to bring in at least $1.2 million of regional and national business in the near future. Consulting experts are projecting an estimated 79,600 attendees will step foot in the JCC by year’s end.
Built to green industry standards, the JCC is located downtown, near the Jackson-Evers International Airport. It consists of two wings: the two-story glass-encased JCC East, which just opened; and JCC West, which was formerly known as the Mississippi TelCom Center. The complex has 128,000 square feet of total meeting space, including a 60,000-square-foot exhibit hall, a 25,000-sq. ft. ballroom and a 382-seat theater. Additional amenities include state-of-the-art telecommunication, conferencing, WiFi and audio/visual capabilities; and plasma screens and signage throughout. The venue has applied for LEED certification, and is awaiting confirmation of its status.