Westbrook, ME – The owners of Rock Row released renderings and details on their plans to build the largest conference and meeting center in the state of Maine at the $600 million, 110-acre development in Westbrook. ASM Global, a producer of large-scale events and entertainment experiences, is working with Rock Row on initial planning.
The yet-to-be-named venue will include 110,000sf of divisible conference and event space including a 35,000sf exhibit hall, pre-function space, ballroom/meeting space, an enclosed performance space with a retractable wall that opens up to lawn seating for concerts, and an attached hotel and parking garage.
Expected cost for the new four-season facility is approximately $75 million, not including the hotel. The new venue will replace the seasonal open-air Maine Savings Pavilion at Rock Row which closed permanently in September due to construction of the Rock Row Medical & Research Campus.
When fully open, the conference and meeting center at Rock Row is anticipated to bring 343 new full-time jobs to the region. Approximately 345,000 guests are expected to attend ticketed and non-ticketed events per year, with more than 25% traveling from outside the state of Maine, according to the 2021 Economic Impact Report, University of Southern Maine.
According to the developers, the center will incorporate the “best of the best” architecture and operations and is modeled in large part after the Toyota Music Factory in Texas, which features a retractable wall that opens up to a lawn-seating area. All interior walls in the Rock Row venue will be movable to accommodate multiple events and meetings of various sizes at the same time.
“The Rock Row Conference and Meeting Center is perfectly situated to benefit and strengthen the entire state of Maine’s economic development growth while not stressing the region’s already-overburdened infrastructure,” said Josh Levy, founding partner at Waterstone Properties, the owners and developers of Rock Row. “Restaurants, hotels and other area businesses will all see a boost in business, without the problems associated with having a convention center in a constrained urban neighborhood.”
The new venue at Rock Row is less than five miles and one exit away from the Portland International Jetport. Construction is expected to begin in 2023.
“This is an idea whose time has come,” said Michael Foley, mayor of the City of Westbrook. “As the premier conference and event center North of Boston, Rock Row’s plan will help bring our city, region and state to the next level of services and hospitality. It’s a resource that is very much needed. And Rock Row in Westbrook is undoubtedly the perfect location for a venue of this size and scope.”