Orange County Convention Center expansion on hold after tourism taxes drop off amid virus

Project another 'casualty of the pandemic,' Mayor Jerry Demings says

Orange County Convention Center. (WKMG)

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Plans for another addition to the Orange County Convention Center have been put on hold, according to county Mayor Jerry Demings, due to the economic fallout from the coronavirus.

County tourism-related projects like the convention center expansion are funded in part by taxes generated from hotel stays in Orange County, known as tourism development tax, or TDT collections.

Beginning in March, organizers began canceling their conferences and events at the Orange County Convention Center. Shortly thereafter, hotels and Orlando-area theme parks began closing due to the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, the county’s TDT collection experienced a record-low intake for the spring and summer months. In May, the TDT was down 95% and down 97% in April, according to county comptroller Phil Diamond.

On Monday, Demings said construction of another expansion at the convention center has been put on hold until the TDT collections can recover. The Orlando Sentinel was the first to report the delay. Demings announced the plans to put the project on hold during an afternoon coronavirus update Monday.

“Another casualty of the pandemic will be the planned expansion of the Orange County Convention Center,” Demings said. “As we knew it. The expansion project will be delayed. At the very least, I want our residents to to also know that we are eyeing the budget and the most prudent fiscally responsible mail as possible as we move forward.”

The convention center is already 7 million square feet and the second largest in the U.S., according to

The Orange County Convention Center provides approximately $3 billion in economic impact to Central Florida annually, according to its website.