The Minneapolis Convention Center (MCC) is continuously updating its amenities, technologies, and aesthetics to deliver the best attendee experience and maintain its competitive advantage in a fast-changing field. From massive sustainability efforts and a 760,000-square-foot building expansion, the MCC has experienced a plethora of changes over the last 30 years.
1. 2020 Terrazzo Floor Project
Completed in summer 2020, the building’s terrazzo floors have been entirely modernized. The new design represents and celebrates Minnesota’s outdoor spirit by using various Minnesota-focused icons. These icons, found throughout the building, include fishing, biking, canoeing, snowshoeing, water skiing, figure skating, sailing, hockey, fly fishing, and cross-country skiing. This design integrates the MCC further into Minnesota history and doubles as a unique and effective wayfinding system for attendees.
Tip: Go to level two and look down at the icons for an entirely new perspective.
The event space room now known as “Seasons” first started out as a Café open to the public. It provided a cafeteria-style restaurant with salads, sandwiches, and various hot foods. People would pick up their tray and follow through different stations. Permanent tables and booths lined the Season’s Bridge. Realizing the space was more useful as a rentable event space, the café closed after two years.
What started as a portable coffee stand in 1993, serving designer drinks and hand-scooped ice cream cones, became a fully operational Dunn Brothers Coffee shop when Kelber Catering expanded their original cup-of-joe service.
Fun Fact: All the coffee beans are roasted onsite by certified roasters.
4. 1998 Implementation of Computer Programs for Events
When the MCC first opened, typewriters were used to draw up client paperwork, work orders, and event diagrams. The sales team alone had 12 designated filing cabinet drawers to organize their paperwork. By 1998, the sales and event teams began experimenting with computer programs to help streamline their process. By 2000, the team adopted the Ungerboek system and there was no looking back. Today, the office functions paperless, and Ungerboeck has grown to serve over 50 countries and multiple convention centers.
5. 2016 Exterior Dome Lights
Have you ever looked at the MCC at night? The exterior dome lights are luminous every night, beautifully integrating the MCC into the Minneapolis skyline. In 2016, LED lights were installed to the exterior of the four domes of the MCC. To accomplish this efficiently, the MCC used a helicopter to remove the old fixtures from the rooftop, lift the new ones up, and put them in place on the dome. The excitement attracted a lot of curious viewers including this video recorded by a bystander, as well as a traffic jam on I-94.
6. 2016 LED Dome Lights Interior
So, you’ve seen the lights outside, but have you ever seen the domes from the inside? They are all lined with 336 RGB LED uplights, allowing for over 16.7 million color combinations. This major LED lighting upgrade was incredibly significant to the continuation of the building’s sustainability goals. It also provided a creative opportunity to clients and added to the unique guest experience.
7. 2017 Digital Displays Completion
The MCC is big. Very big. 1.6 million square feet to be exact. Digital displays are the perfect way to provide a superior wayfinding system to all attendees and guests of the building. These powerful displays also elevate the MCC as a technology-driven convention center and offer great opportunities for events to display their branding.
8. 2020 Plaza Renovations
When the MCC first opened, the plaza design included a grass circle that was the exact same size as one of the MCC domes. In the mid-2000s, a facelift was done which widened the sidewalk, lessened the grass space slightly, and added planters. In 2020, the plaza will receive its largest revitalization yet. Set to be complete by the end of the summer, the new design will include new lighting, walkways, pollinator meadows, tree plantings, and seating options. When completed, the redesigned plaza will provide a convenient connection to Nicollet Avenue and contribute another beautiful green-space amenity to the downtown community.
9. 2015 Craft Bar & Lounge
Perched on the balcony above the Visitor Information Center, the Craft Bar & Lounge offers a convenient location for business meetings, networking, and unwinding. When the Lounge opened in 2015, it featured a large array of locally crafted beers – in addition to hot foods and spirits. In 2020, Kelber Catering launched their very own private-label wine, Mill City Cellars, that is now served in addition to the other craft beverages. Their label reflects Minneapolis’ history and includes a photo of Minneapolis, St. Anthony and St. Anthony Falls from 1875. Mill City Cellars is exclusive to the MCC and is produced by Rutherford Ranch Winery in Napa Valley, a Certified California Sustainable Winery.
You can really judge a place by its restrooms, #amiright? Here at the MCC we have over 50 restrooms, nearly 45 of which are open to the public and event attendees. In 2019, the final phase of restroom renovations was completed, introducing touchless fixtures including auto flushers, sinks, soap dispensers, towel dispensers, and hand dryers. They also feature LED lighting, built-in recycling bins, and new stall partitions.
11. 2019 Exhibitor Services Remodel
Do you ever wonder how tradeshow booths can have extravagant lights, operating Jacuzzis filled with water, all-terrain vehicle courses, and working fireplaces – each confined to their area? Exhibitor Services. They’re the team that sets and organizes needs such as electricity, gas, TVs, and water fill/drain. They work meticulously with each exhibitor to meet their needs and bring their booth to life. In 2019, the team won multiple awards including both Exhibitor 2020 Centers of Excellence for North America’s Top Convention Center Exhibitor 2020 and the Best Service & On-Site Support 2020. It’s only fitting that their workspace matches their achievements.
12. 2020 Command Center Relocation
With over 100 security cameras and a 24-hour security team, a high-functioning Command Center has always played a vital role at the MCC. The security and guest services team receive continuous training by public safety agencies and reputable safety and security training programs. In 2020, the MCC moved the Command Center from the back-of-house to Level One, front and center. This move allowed the team to enhance their presence in the building by increasing their visibility and engagement. This relocation came with a redesigned space specific to their needs and included enhanced security initiatives such as the maximization of life safety, camera surveillance, access-control, and computer aided dispatch.
13. 2019 First Aid Room Remodel
Under typical circumstances, the MCC requires an EMT for any public show and/or private event with an estimated attendance of over 1,000 people. Why? Because safety is always a top priority and hosting an event of this size means you need to foresee every possible situation. Having an EMT onsite supports an event’s risk management plan and is a necessary tool for people’s safety. The onsite EMTs are provided their own static room stocked with supplies and remain in constant communication with the MCC’s Command Center. And if that wasn’t enough, the MCC is also in a great location for emergency situations, with Fire Station 6 located on the same block as the MCC and Hennepin County Medical Center, a Level 1 Trauma Center, located only .08 miles away with an average response time of 5-10 minutes.
14. 1980s Mauve & Seafoam Green Paint
If you were around during the late 1980s, chances are you remember the fad of mauve in all its pale purple/pink glory. All the rave at the time, mauve was one of the main colors painted inside the MCC. In 2002, staying in line with the trends, the building parted with its purple ways and moved into the Seafoam Green look. A classic really. Finally, in 2017 the building was painted a light gray for a subtler, longer-lasting look. It’s a good thing we have our own painting crew!
15. Visitor Information Center: Elevator vs. Stairs
When the MCC opened, the Visitor Information Center was connected to an elevator. Then in 2002, the elevator was taken down and replaced by stairs. Twelve years later, the elevator was put back in place, along with a total renovation of the Visitor Information Center with an incredible 90-foot wraparound digital display screen and the Craft Bar & Lounge nestled on top. Sometimes you just have to try new things to realize you were right the first time!
View a virtual tour of the Visitor Information Center HERE.
16. 2002 Business Center
With the major expansion of 2002 came the installation of a business center for attendees and clients to use. FedEx was the first to move into the space that is now The UPS Store. This center is extremely beneficial for not only onsite attendees who need last-minute copies or who forgot a pen, but also for exhibitors – many of whom fly to Minneapolis from all over the country and sometimes the world – to use for shipping and receiving.
17. 2015 Remodeled Show Offices
Each Exhibit Hall has a show office available for clients to observe their floor space and help oversee exhibits and production. Two of the main show offices are equipment with meeting spaces, kitchenettes, and sofas.
Take a virtual tour of Show Office CD HERE and Show Office DE HERE.
18. 2015 Exhibit Hall Paint
Remember that mauve color we mentioned earlier? Each of our Exhibit Halls’ walls and ceilings were also painted a light mauve. From 2015-17 we repainted each dome, ceiling, and wall of each Exhibit Hall to white. The paint came in large square plastic containers, each containing hundreds of gallons of paint – all of which were brought in with forklifts – totaling 11,000 gallons of paint! The painting technique used for the domes is called “Dry-Fall,” meaning paint was sprayed onto the surface and any residue that fell would dry before it reached the floor, allowing it to be swept up.
In 2016, the railings throughout the entire second floor were upgraded to all glass. Previously these railings included a steel design topped with a heavy oak wood. This new modern look gives a crisp, clean feel and draws your attention beyond the railing to the various architecture points throughout the building.
A change as seemingly simple as carpet can seem obsolete in the overall picture. However, these changes are what keep the MCC looking fresh and modern and make a difference in how you experience your time in the building. In 2015, the entire second floor, along with all 87 meeting rooms, had new carpet installed.
View a virtual tour of Meeting Room 200 Block HERE.