An increase in visitors to Indianapolis hotels and restaurants helped the Capital Improvement Board of Marion County see higher revenue in the year's first quarter.
CIB reported at its Monday meeting that revenue in the first three months of 2011 grew 28 percent, to $22.5 million, compared with the same time last year. In addition, revenue exceeded what CIB had budgeted in the first quarter by more than $2 million.
“A lot of that is directly related to the activity we had in the [Indiana Convention Center],” said Dan Huge, the convention center’s chief financial officer.
March was “a very good month,” he said, citing the Fire Department Instructor Conference and the National Truck Equipment Association convention.
The convention center addition that opened in February boasts 350,000 square feet of exhibit space, pushing the overall convention center from 32nd largest in the United States to 16th. The facility, when combined with Lucas Oil Stadium, offers a total of 1.2 million square feet of exhibit and meeting space.
CIB is banking on the larger convention center to attract more meetings, which would translate into additional visitors spending more on food and hotels.
Taxes collected by CIB, which include hotel, food and beverage, and admissions receipts, totaled $16.4 million, a 22-percent increase from the first three months of 2010.
More specifically, taxes generated by admissions to events at CIB-owned facilities grew 27 percent, food and beverage taxes increased 19 percent, and hotel stays improved 18 percent.
Besides the convention center, CIB manages Lucas Oil Stadium, Conseco Fieldhouse and Victory Field.
Despite the increase in revenue, CIB still is running a deficit of $6.6 million through the first three months of the year. That’s largely due to the second of three annual $10 million payments CIB made to the Indiana Pacers to operate Conseco Fieldhouse.
CIB’s decision to give the Pacers $30 million drew a sharp rebuke from opponents who criticized the funding as another example of a handout to a professional sports team.
CIB said it is under budget by nearly $900,000 through the first three months on salaries and employee benefits, including security costs, due to job cuts.
Including debt obligations, CIB’s total budget for 2011 is expected to be $104.4 million.