Century Center could be run by same company that runs the McCormick Place in Chicago

The same private firm that now runs McCormick Place in Chicago may soon be running South Bend's Century Center.

The Board of Public Works met Thursday and recommended that SMG Venue Management be awarded the contract to operate the Convention Center.

A selection committee received three bids last month, from those who want to provide management and food services there.

They chose SMG over South Bend Hospitality and Global Spectrum, the firm that currently has the Century Center contract.

They're hoping SMG will be able to attract more business to the downtown venue.

“If you study the industry metrics, virtually no convention centers that are municipally owned make money,” says Greg Downes the president of the Century Center board of managers. “I think it's fair to say that of the recent past, we have probably averaged an operating loss of about $100,000 a month. Our near-term goal would be to try to cut that in half, and we hope and expect that SMG can help us do that.”

The committee's recommendation now goes to the full Century Center Board on April 17.

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