Jacksonville’s Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center Set to Complete Extensive Renovation This Fall
The Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center in Downtown Jacksonville, Fla., is currently undergoing extensive renovations designed to improve the appearance and functionality of its meeting and convention spaces while elevating the event experience for planners and groups attending events in Jacksonville.
The renovation project, which began in April, includes a full facelift of the historic venue’s more than 200,000 square feet of meeting and exhibition spaces, including the main Exhibit Hall featuring 78,000 square feet of exhibit space, 33-foot ceilings and 22 meeting rooms of various sizes, and the Grand Lobby, a special event space with 75-ft. ceilings and marble walls overlooking the building’s grand fountain and expansive terminal columns.
“The improvements have sparked new energy for everyone involved,” said Mike Kenny, general manager of the Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center, which is managed by ASM Global. “Clients, vendors and staff have been over-the-top thankful and supportive. As events and conferences came back, we needed to compete harder than ever before to maximize our space, [and] we needed the improvements to do that. Our venue can be both historic and modernized.”
According to venue officials, the Exhibit Hall is being painted and its floor resurfaced, and will feature smart lighting and digital signage, while the main concourse area will boast a new digital display system.
The Grand Lobby and Ballroom is receiving new carpeting, cabinetry, marble wall resealing, programmable uplighting and fresh paint, and second-floor meeting rooms are being repainted and will feature new ceiling tiles, carpet and smart lighting.
Finally, exterior building updates will include freshly painted trim and a new roof.
While the venue’s interior is set to be completed in September, external enhancements will continue as the facility works to upgrade the surrounding landscape, according to venue officials.
What is now known as the Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center originally opened in 1919 as the Jacksonville Union Terminal, the largest railroad station in the South. It featured more than two dozen rail tracks, a restaurant, gift shop and other amenities. Today, “The Prime” maintains some of its historical features, including a retired rail car, train bumpers and signage, and holds bragging rights as the only southern railroad station in the U.S. to have been converted into a state-of-the-art convention center.
“The Prime Osborn Convention Center is an important piece of Jacksonville history, as well as our meetings and convention business, hosting dozens of groups each year,” said Michael Corrigan, president and CEO of Visit Jacksonville. “The recent renovations are a welcome refresh to continue attracting groups, as Jacksonville continues to be one of the most affordable meetings and convention destinations in Florida.”
Alongside a more modernized convention center, there are now additional hotel properties for event groups to take advantage of in Jacksonville.
Opened in April, the 136-suite SpringHill Suites by Marriott Jacksonville Beach Oceanfront includes the Sandbar Jax Beach restaurant offering full views of the Atlantic Ocean as well as indoor/outdoor space for special events, while the Courtyard by Marriott Jacksonville Flagler Center recently completed a full renovation, which includes two meeting and event rooms totaling 978 sq. ft. that received new wall vinyl, carpet, window treatments, LED lighting and furniture.
It has also become easier for event groups to access the destination via the addition of nonstop flights, according to venue officials. In May, Breeze Airlines started nonstop service between Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) and Los Angeles (LAX), Columbus, Ohio (CMH), Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina (RDU), Norfolk, Va. (ORF) and Richmond, Va. (RIC). Breeze already offers nonstop flights to numerous destinations from Jacksonville, including New Orleans (MSY), Las Vegas (LAS) and Hartford, Conn. (BDL).
Additionally, on Nov. 5, American Airlines will begin daily nonstop service between JAX and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), departing Phoenix at 5 p.m. MST and landing in Jacksonville at 10:01 p.m. EST, with return flights departing Jacksonville at 8 a.m. EST and arriving in Phoenix at 9:37 a.m. MST.