Monroeville Convention Center to turn into retail space; some previously scheduled events canceled – WPXI

MONROEVILLE, Pa. — The Monroeville Convention Center is set to be converted into retail space in the coming months, leaving some events in shambles.

“We’re now racing and scrambling to build a show in seven months, and just pick up the pieces, it stinks,” said Alex Kinnamon, one of the showrunners for the annual Pittsburgh Gaming Expo.

The organizers recently received a memo from the center, claiming that it can no longer host the October event due to “significant construction.”

Channel 11 got in touch with Oxford CEO Steven Guy, who stated that the center is rather owned by “a partnership.” County property records do indeed cite numerous partners as the building owners. Guy stated that a portion of the center will soon be leased to Hobby Lobby, while the other portion is in the market for a lease, bringing the building back to its original “roots” of retail, Guy said.

Channel 11 contacted the Monroeville Convention Center, Monroeville Chamber of Commerce and Visit Monroeville for comment and clarification. At the time this article was published, only Visit Monroeville had responded, and did not comment beyond referring us to Oxford Development, stating that the company “owns and operates the Monroeville Convention Center.”

Guy stated that the convention center does not have a lease, and the conversion will begin around June 1st. When asked why, he stated that the convention center was not profitable, and had no comment regarding the community impact.

Kinnamon, however, said he is disappointed not only as a showrunner but as a Monroeville resident and local business owner. He spoke to us within his store, Retrograde Gaming and Collectibles.

“I’m bummed for Monroeville. It’s a good boost to the local economy,”  Kinnamon said.

He and fellow showrunner Colt Damaso told Channel 11 that while they hadn’t sold guest tickets yet, they had booked more than 60 percent of their vendor tables.

Those vendors, Kinnamon said, were locked in at certain pricing based on the rates provided by the Convention Center.

“This was going to be huge, we had already been in negotiations with bands, celebrities, a whole bunch of stuff to make this event super awesome, so now we’re kind of scrambling to find another venue,” Damaso told us.

The showrunners need a space that’s around 60,000 square feet, ideally for the original dates of Oct. 4-6, 2024.

“There might be another show in New York the following weekend – those vendors are going there, they’re already contracted for that, so even if we can get a new venue, if we can’t find those same dates, this could still be a huge logistical headache for everyone involved,” Kinnamon said. “That’s the part that worries me. We want to not let down the people who have ridden this out.””We’re bookended by other shows,” Damaso said. “The video game community is pretty tightknit.”

Kinnamon said this year would mark the fourth expo. Their first was wiped out due to the pandemic, and now they’re having to weather yet another storm. Each year, the grassroots event has grown, drawing a bigger crowd.

An event space that may be able to host their event can contact the showrunners at [email protected].

Steel City Con is also being impacted by this change. The organization is looking for another space to hold its August and December events.

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