The Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority (PCCA) has formally issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) from private companies specializing in facility operations, maintenance and management.
The RFQ follows a vote by the PCCA board on Aug. 15 to examine all options in the continuing effort to ensure operating efficiency and market competitiveness.
“The Board has issued the RFQ as part of its ongoing obligation to Pennsylvania taxpayers to ensure that the center is running at maximum efficiency and competitiveness,” said Gregory J. Fox, chairman, PCCA Board of Directors. “The purpose of the RFQ is to gather information, and we look forward to obtaining responses from all qualified firms who wish to participate. We have the responsibility to seek information from the marketplace regarding best practices.”
The PCCA hopes to find out what private firms can offer, but stresses that no conclusions have been reached regarding the ultimate direction of the center’s management.
“The board is exploring this option as part of its overall mission to be sure that the Convention Center operates at its best,” said Ahmeenah Young, president and CEO, Pennsylvania Convention Center. “I believe this examination will show what a great job our staff has done, and we will remain committed to offering the highest level of customer service. That is our fundamental mission.”
The PCCA will ask firms to demonstrate a variety of qualifications in their proposals, including:
• Substantial urban convention center maintenance and operation experience.
• Advanced knowledge of convention center facility maintenance, repair, construction and practical application of equipment and materials in operations.
• Commitment to achieving excellence in customer service, with specific regard to event planners, exhibitors, vendors, and the public.
• Ability to undertake required capital improvements to the convention center facility during the term of an operations management contract.
• Effective marketing and event management at the center, including the ability to generate more events and higher revenue.
The RFQ check follows the board’s recent elimination of an 8 percent management fee on labor, a major new initiative aimed at competitive service rates.
The Pennsylvania Convention Center is located in Philadelphia’s Center City and received a Gold level certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. A $787 million dollar renovation and expansion of the center was completed in 2011, increasing its size by 62 percent. The center is the 14th-largest facility in the nation and features the largest exhibit space and ballroom in the Northeast.