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Center attention turns to events
With construction complete, tourism types eye bookings
FORT LAUDERDALE -- Now that it's built, the question isn't so much will they come as who, when and how many?
With the $49 million Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center completed ahead of schedule and ready to open Sept. 5, the Broward tourism industry is turning its attention to the convention bookings.
The hoteliers, the restaurateurs and the retailers are wondering about the quantity of groups and events for the 257,000 square feet of exhibit, meeting and pre-function space.
A change of face
The opening of the center promises to change the face of Broward tourism, but exactly how remains to be seen. To this point, booking the uncompleted convention center had been no easy task.
"We have a jump start and have put some business on the books," said Loren Cain, director of marketing at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitor's Bureau. "We probably have more business than we have any right to expect."
The bureau's five-person convention sales staff set a goal of 30 conventions a year, Cain said.
"The early indications are that we can make those targets," he said.
The center has 52 …