Pa. Convention Center could wind up in private hands by summer

The Pennsylvania Convention Center is testing the waters to see whether a private management firm might run the facility better and more cheaply than current management.

Gregory Fox says the center’s request for proposals is designed to see what private companies have to say about how’d they’d run the place differently, and at what price, said Gregory Fox, chairman of the convention center board.

“The purpose of the exercise is to enable the board of directors to review various management models in order to determine what would work best for the Convention Center,” he said. “And if a private management model is determined to work best, then which of various possible vendors would be best for us.”

Fox says it’s not a done deal that a private company would come in to manage the center.

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“We’re not committed to a fixed deadline but the responses to the (request for proposals) are due back on May 3,” he said. “And within a month to six weeks after that, the board will have come to a conclusion.”

Companies planning to bid are expected to attend a meeting Thursday. The center has been plagued for years by complaints about high costs and difficult work rules.

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