Dubuque City Council to Consider New Management for Grand River Center

The agenda for Monday’s Dubuque City Council meeting includes a recommendation from City staff to approve a new facility management agreement for the Grand River Center with a new company.

The recommendation from City Manager Mike Van Milligen and Leisure Services Manager Marie Ware calls for the City to enter into a new facility management agreement with OVG360 to operate, market, and manage the Grand River Center.  The recommendation follows a request for proposals (RFP) process for management of the facility initiated by the City in October 2022.

The City received three responses to the RFP. In alphabetical order, they were Global Spectrum L.P. (doing business as OVG360), Platinum Hospitality Group LLC, and VenuWorks Inc.  OVG360 was the highest-ranked firm and was the unanimous recommendation.

“OVG360’s strategy presented of an aggressive approach to sales and marketing, dedicated food and beverage approach, partnership-driven approach, revenue generation through sponsorship sales, focus on sustainability, commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and excellence in transition matched the City’s goals and vision for the Grand River Center into the future,” shared Leisure Services Manager Marie Ware.

“As we look to reenergize the Grand River Center, we will rely heavily on OVG360 and their outstanding resources to bring meetings and conventions to Dubuque, in partnership with Travel Dubuque and our community. This will help generate a significant economic impact to the region,” said Ware. “With OVG360’s outstanding hospitality division, we can immediately enhance the guest and customer experience.”

OVG’s venue management and booking portfolio comprises 230 venues, including 59 convention centers, with most of their clients being public entities including cities, counties, and states.  In Iowa, OVG has management agreements with three convention centers: the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center and Hy-Vee Hall at the Iowa Events Center, both in Des Moines; the Waterloo Convention Center at Sullivan Brothers Plaza in Waterloo; and the Tyson Events Center and Orpheum Theatre in Sioux City.  They also manage the Xtream Arena and Green State Family Fieldhouse in Coralville.

“OVG360 is here to be a positive disruption to business as usual in the hospitality industry,” said Greg O’Dell, President, Venue Management, OVG360. “We’re eager to hit the ground running with the team in Dubuque on March 31. We’re going to tap OVG’s industry relationships and partnerships to reimagine Grand River Center and create new opportunities to bring visitors from near and far to Dubuque.”

OVG360 is a Philadelphia-based division of the Oak View Group, a full-service venue management and event programming company founded with a focus on the sports, live entertainment, and hospitality industries. OVG currently has eight divisions across five global offices (Los Angeles, New York, London, Philadelphia, and Toronto).

Platinum Hospitality Group has managed the City-owned facility since it opened in 2003.  Platinum’s management agreement with the City, which began in 2001, was updated/amended eight times, most recently in September 2022 when a termination date of March 31, 2023, was included.  With city council approval, OVG360’s management of the facility will begin on March 31, 2023 at 12:01 a.m. when the current agreement with Platinum Hospitality Group expires.

The Grand River Center is a conference center located in the Port of Dubuque and features an 86,000 square-foot conference and meeting facility which includes a 30,000 square-foot exhibit hall, a 12,000 square foot ballroom, and six meeting rooms.

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