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City of Cincinnati
History of the Convention Center

Located in the heart of Downtown Cincinnati, the Duke Energy Convention has grown from a convention and exposition space, to one of the largest conference, entertainment, and exhibit spaces in the Midwest.

  • 1967 – Cincinnati Convention-Exposition Center opens in Downtown Cincinnati. The building occupied one city block between Fifth, Sixth, Plum, and Elm Streets. During that time, the building was unmatched for its size and space flexibility. The 95,000 square feet of exhibition space, 27 meeting rooms and dock area featuring hydraulic lifts allowed Cincinnati to host events that other area venues could not handle. The total cost of construction was $10 million.
  • 1984 – Seeking to keep up with the growing number of conventions and trade shows selecting Cincinnati as their location, the City of Cincinnati begins construction on an expansion and remodeling of the Center. An additional 275,000 square feet is added, increasing the total square footage to 561,000.
  • 1987 – The building was reopened as the Albert B. Sabin Convention and Exposition Center, named after Dr. Albert Sabin who is credited for the development of the oral polio vaccine while working at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. The construction included the addition of skywalks allowing easy access to adjacent parking garages and hotels.
  • 2006 – Seeking to market Cincinnati as a premier convention destination, an additional 200,000 square feet and the “Cincinnati” Icon sign is added to the Center. The building is reopened as the Cinergy Center.
  • 2006 – The Cinergy Center is renamed the Duke Energy Convention Center. The City of Cincinnati selects a private management group, Spectra (formerly Global Spectrum) to manage the more than 750,000 square feet of convention, meeting, and event space.
  • 2010 – With Cincinnati poised as a convention destination and the expanded Duke Energy Convention Center, the center plays host to major international and national figures including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who was presented the Internation Freedom Conductor Award by the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
  • 2011 – The Duke Energy Convention Center completed installation of a 101.0 kw DC photovoltaic solar array on the roof of the Exhibit Halls. Since May of that year through fiscal 2014-2015, the system has generated 510,662.03 KWH, which is the equivalent of 2,914 60 watt light bulbs for 1 year of 8 hour/day use, 9,191 trees in total CO2 offset, 366 tons of CO2 saved, and 41,363 gallons of gas saved.  
  • 2012 – Cincinnati and the Duke Energy Center hosted a number of national and international conventions and meetings including the World Choir Games and ASI International Convention to name a few.
  • 2015 – Charley Harper’s "Spacewalk" unveiled. This becomes the 10th piece of art on display in the building.  The building also hosted the MLB All-Star Fanfest to the 2nd largest crowd in its history. This event was held at the DECC as part of the 2015 MLB All Star weekend where Cincinnati was chosen as host of the year's festivities.
  • 2016 – Walk around our pedestrian-friendly streets and you will find a city that is vibrant and alive with culture, entertainment, world-class attractions with an eclectic mix of restaurants and nightlife. There are nearly 3,500 adjacent hotel rooms, 5,000 nearby parking spaces and over 100 restaurants.