Tacoma Venues & Events Department Renames Convention Center and Unveils Logo

Tacoma Venues & Events, the managing department for the City of Tacoma’s prolific venues, announced today the rebranding of the Greater Tacoma Convention Center (removing “& Trade”) and presenting a new brand identity. The fresh brand celebrates the Pacific Northwest, downtown Tacoma, and the culture of service offered at one of Washington State’s largest convention centers.

The brand image enhances marketing and sales efforts by defining what is appealing about the facility and region. The ‘greater than’ symbol seen within the new logo illustrates the service provided by the team of experts that collaborate with clients in all aspects of event planning from safety to audio visual, catering to ticketing. The symbol and tag line “Something Greater” evokes the transformative nature of events held at the facility.

“The launch of our new brand reflects the artful, modern style of the facility and connects us with our clients in our promise to provide ‘something greater’,” stated Kim Bedier, Director for Tacoma Venues & Events, City of Tacoma.  “Every event presented here holds a promise of something greater for the guest. Whether they are getting married, performing in a competition, supporting a non-profit, or networking at a conference, we hope that everyone comes away with something greater after a visit to the Convention Center.”

Hemisphere Design & Marketing of Tacoma was engaged to develop a memorable and distinct brand. Through their research interviews with stakeholders and focus groups, the Convention Center’s brand was identified for the greater value it provides, the overall experience customers expect, and the personality of the venue and the region.  Download the new logo here.

“The Public Facilities District (PFD) was formed to construct the Greater Tacoma Convention Center to act as an economic engine for the entire region. With PFD participants that include Fife, Lakewood, University Place and Pierce County, I am pleased to see the focus on the greater Tacoma area conveyed throughout the facility’s strategic communications,” stated Connie Ladenburg, President for the PFD and Pierce County Council Member.

Construction began in April to prepare the building site for a new 4-star hotel. In coordination with the brand change, the venue’s official address has also been changed to 1500 Commerce Street. Aramark’s Executive Chef Brooks Magnuson will also be releasing a new menu this month.

“Tacoma is earning a reputation as a convention destination nationally. Our team is looking forward to using these tools for continued growth in the number, diversity and the scope of the events we book,” said Bennish Brown, President and CEO for Travel Tacoma + Pierce County, the area’s destination marketing organization.

The Greater Tacoma Convention Center was recently recognized by meetingsource.com as #4 for top small convention cities. The facility hosts more than 125,000 attendees at 200 events annually, with events ranging from multi-day conventions, to cheer and dance events, elegant weddings, non-profit-galas and military balls.  

About Tacoma Venues & Events (formerly Public Assembly Facilities):  The City of Tacoma enhances quality of life for the community and drives economic vitality through its premier venues and diverse entertainment opportunities.  Tacoma Venues & Events manages these renowned venues which include the Tacoma Dome, one of the world’s largest wood domed structures with flexible seating configurations ranging from 5,000-23,000; the Greater Tacoma Convention Center, artful and modern with its trademark glass walls and 119,000 square feet of event space; Cheney Stadium, home of the Tacoma Rainiers; and the Broadway Center’s historic Pantages and Rialto Theaters, and Theatre on the Square.  The department collaborates with Travel Tacoma and Tacoma South Sound Sports to generate events for the region.


Tammi Bryant
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The Tacoma City Council has approved an amended agreement with Yareton Investment and Management (Washington) L.L.C., as well as property conveyance for the Convention Center hotel project. Conducted without public subsidy, the development represents one of the first major foreign direct investments in a commercial project on publicly-owned land in Tacoma. It is also the largest privately funded development downtown in the city's history. Read More →

Construction Update

The Commerce Street ramp to Lot A Garage under the Greater Tacoma Convention Center is open. Sidewalks in the vicinity of the new Convention Center A garage entrance on Commerce Street have closed and a fence has been placed to secure the development site.  

In late 2017, a free-standing crane was erected and vertical construction began. The Hotel is expected to be completed Fall 2020. 

Construction work hours will be Monday through Friday, from 7 AM to 5 PM, and high noise activities as well as construction truck traffic will be managed by Absher Construction to minimize impact to the surrounding neighborhood to the greatest extent possible. Construction workers will also be directed to park at off-site locations to minimize impacts on parking for the University of Washington Tacoma and area businesses.  

The Convention Center will continue to host events during construction.

Parking Information

Convention Center event attendees should visit our Parking & Directions page for additional information, including directions to Convention Center lots and alternate parking options.

For the duration of construction, access from the south of the Convention Center as well as the exterior parking lots A, B and C will be closed. Convention Center guests should enter the facility through the first floor doors at Commerce Street and the third floor doors on 15th street, and guest parking will be available in the A garage, within the Convention Center building. The A garage is accessible via the newly constructed ramp at Commerce Street. Additional guest parking will be available throughout the construction period at the D and E garages off Court C. There are also several privately owned and managed facilities in the area that may have additional parking capacity available for visitors. As parking availability will be limited depending on event timing, type and size, guests are encouraged to plan for, and allow themselves, more time to park. Convention Center clients should contact their assigned Event Manager with any parking specific questions.

About the Greater Tacoma Convention Center Hotel Project

The Convention Center hotel project, estimated to cost approximately $150 million, will be completed in two phases.

The first phase, projected to cost at least $85 million, will involve the construction of a 4-star, 300-room hotel with a 10,000 square foot grand ballroom, retail and other function rooms. The hotel operator is Interstate Hotels & Resorts in Alexandria, Va., the leading U.S.-based global hotel management company, operating branded full- and select-service hotels and resorts, convention centers and independent hotels worldwide. The brand is Marriott International in Bethesda, Md., which encompasses a portfolio of more than 6,100 properties in 30 leading hotel brands spanning 124 countries and territories.

The second phase, estimated to cost approximately $65 million, will involve the construction of approximately 200 apartments/condominiums based on market demand, with retail, after the hotel is operational.

The development is projected to boost utilization of the Greater Tacoma Convention Center, and generate substantial revenue through property, sales, B&O, utility and hotel-motel taxes. It is also projected to create approximately 1,000 construction jobs and 200 full-time hotel-related jobs.

More information about the project is available through Elly Walkowiak in Community and Economic Development at 253.591.5209. 

Chef Brooks Magnuson, Executive Chef for the Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center, has earned ProChef Certification Level II from the Culinary Institute of America.  

The prestigious ProChef Certification program was created by the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), the world’s most-respected culinary college. For several months, chefs study and prepare to participate in a rigorous four-day test of their knowledge in food science, Mediterranean cuisine, baking, nutritional analysis, garde manger and financial management. 

“Chef Brooks collaborates with clients and staff every day to provide a truly world-class food and beverage experience for our guests,” stated Kim Bedier, Director for the City of Tacoma Public Assembly Facilities. “We are proud of his commitment to his craft, particularly as he studied during one of our busiest years ever.” 

“We are fortunate to have Chef Brooks leading our culinary team,” Brad Nelson, Aramark’s General Manager of Food & Beverage Services at GTCTC commented. “His dedication to expanding his knowledge with this demanding curriculum raises the level of excellence in service we provide guests.” 

Brooks has nearly thirty years of culinary experience, with stops in Colorado, Minnesota, and Oregon. Chef Brooks started his career with Aramark at Denali National Park, quickly advancing to Executive Chef. After eight seasons in Alaska, he relocated to Seattle and took a position at the Washington State Convention Center. It didn’t take long to be promoted to Executive Sous Chef. He was promoted to the Executive Chef at GTCTC in 2011. Brooks has provided culinary support for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, responsible for expediting as many as 40,000 meals in a single day. He also supported the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, and multiple mega events at the Washington State Convention Center. Chef Brooks plans to participate in Level III certification within the next couple of years.  

Chef Brooks
Mobilitie, the nation’s largest privately-held wireless infrastructure provider, announced the installation of both a Distributed Antenna System (DAS) and Wi-Fi network, providing ubiquitous wireless coverage throughout the venues for guests. 
“Wireless connectivity enhances our guests’ experiences, enabling them to stay connected and share exciting moments with friends and family in real-time,” said Kim Bedier, Director Public Assembly Facilities, City of Tacoma.  “Mobilitie brought us the right solutions for coverage and capacity, and we are thrilled that our exhibitors, attendees and partners will benefit from the boosted capacity.”
Both the Tacoma Dome, with its large wood-domed structure, and the Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center, known for its trademark glass walls, now have a contiguous DAS and Wi-Fi network that are linked together.  More than 130 antennas and 190 Wi-Fi Access Points were used to build the wireless infrastructure.
“We are excited about our partnership with Tacoma Dome and Convention Center. Iconic venues like these require robust wireless coverage and capacity to keep guests connected to their business community, as well as with friends and family,” said Christos Karmis, President of Mobilitie. “With U.S. mobile data usage expected to increase by more than 600 percent over the next two years, we wanted to ensure that our intelligent infrastructure will support guests’ wireless needs today and in the future. Mobilitie’s DAS and Wi-Fi networks will ensure guests have uninterrupted access to voice and data services.”
Mobilitie’s growth has been largely fueled by its intelligent approach to telecommunications infrastructure in the U.S. Mobilitie’s partners include all major wireless carriers, as well as sports and entertainment arenas such as, Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Kansas City Chiefs, the Honda Center, home of the Anaheim Ducks, Verizon Center, home of the Washington Wizards, Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays, and Toyota Park, home of the Chicago Fire Soccer Club. In addition, Mobilitie’s DAS network at Churchill Downs supported the highest-ever recorded data traffic usage during a one-hour period at the 2016 Kentucky Derby. 

Parking is as easy as Park, Remember, Pay!

Electronic multi-space pay stations are now being used in all Convention Center public parking lots and garages. These pay stations accept US bills as well as debit/credit cards. Convention Center parking rates remain the same and range from free (0-15 minutes) to a $12 maximum for 4+ hours. The pay stations are easy to use and will be familiar to those who park in Tacoma’s downtown core. Simply park, remember your space number, proceed to the pay station, and insert payment.

This enhanced pre-payment system eliminates queuing at parking lot entrances and exits. Event planners also have the option to arrange validation coupon codes making the process streamlined for those who want to pre-arrange patron event parking.

In partnership with Republic Parking Northwest, Inc., we strive to explore opportunities to enhance the service offered to our patrons. If you have any comments, questions, or concerns, please feel free to speak with your Sales Manager, Event Coordinator, or contact Republic Parking directly at 253.627.4401.

FAQs – Convention Center Parking System

What is an electronic multi-space pay station?

A kiosk style electronic parking meter that handles payment for multiple parking spaces, eliminating the need for individual meters at each parking space.

How does the parking system work?

It’s as easy as park, remember your parking stall number, proceed to the electronic pay station, and pay (or enter validation coupon code). That’s it!

What are the parking rates?*

0-15 minutes – No Charge; 0-4 hours - $6; 4+hours - $12

What forms of payment are accepted at the pay station?

US bills including $1, $5, $10, and $20 bills as well as VISA and MasterCard debit/credit cards. Please note – no change will be given so please pay with exact bills. No refunds will be given.

Is parking validation available for my event?

Yes, please speak with your Sales or Event Manager for more information and to arrange parking validation coupon codes for your event.

Can I use the remaining time on my parking receipt elsewhere in the City of Tacoma?

No, paid parking in Convention Center lots and garages is not valid in other locations.

What are the parking lot hours?

All Convention Center parking lots are open 24 hours a day except the 2nd Floor interior A-lot garage which is open during events.

Who do I contact for more information or assistance with the Convention Center parking system?

The Convention Center parking facility is managed by Republic Parking NW, PO Box 1112, Tacoma, WA 98401. Phone: 253.627.4401