Make the Downtown Phoenix Convention Center Free?

I came across this interesting proposal on Downtown Phoenix Journal yesterday.  While it may sound far-fetched, creating a vibrant downtown core requires thinking outside the box.

[Source: Downtown Beat, Downtown Phoenix Journal]

Fill up the Convention Center during the summer!

Have you ever thought of hosting a big event but have nowhere to hold it? Well, Ben Bethel may have the answer. Bethel, owner and GM of The Clarendon Hotel, wants free rent in the Phoenix Convention Center from June 1 to September 30.

Yes, you can read that sentence again. FREE.

Bethel realizes that the Convention Center—capable of comfortably bringing 10,000 people to Downtown Phoenix—sits virtually empty four months out the year.

“By giving away the space, people will book flights, rent cars, stay in hotels, eat at restaurants, shop in local shops, visit museums, and take trips to Arizona’s many natural wonders also supporting small-town economies,” Bethel says. “And while they’re doing this, they’ll be paying airport taxes, rental car taxes, hotel taxes, and sales taxes—while keeping people employed who pay employment and income taxes—it’s a no-brainer.”

Want more information on this initiative? Contact Bethel for more information at, or call him at 602.252.9349.

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