Despite the recent opening of the Sands Bethlehem Event Center earlier this year and the Sands Hotel in 2011, Sands Casino President Robert DeSalvio does not appear concerned that a new, larger convention/exposition center in the city's SouthSide would pull any business away from either property.
“When you start getting the critical mass that you need, you're really talking about the sum of the parts,” said DeSalvio at a press conference Nov. 15. “We get a lot of requests that are often too big for the site.”
The 50,000-square-foot event center, which offers both conference and concert space, hosted the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber's annual meeting Nov. 13, and DeSalvio said the event center will compliment the new convention and expo center proposed by the city.
On Nov. 15, officials revealed plans for Northampton County to award a $50,000 grant to the Bethlehem Redevelopment Authority to fund a feasibility study to determine the potential site and size for a convention and expo center on the Bethlehem Works Redevelopment Area. The site includes the casino, hotel, retail mall and event center in addition to the SteelStacks campus.
Using the county's hotel room rental tax funds, the redevelopment authority will seek proposals from consultants to complete the analysis through a request for proposals document. Officials estimate the privately-owned and operated center to be between 100,000 to 200,000 square feet.