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Other DNC host cities: Expect heavy traffic, packed businesses

It might be a good idea to pack a brown-bag lunch in Charlotte when the Democratic National Convention comes to town in 2012.

With 30,000 to 35,000 delegates, members of the media and political leaders expected to attend the event the week of Sept. 3, Charlotteans should expect heavier traffic, busier restaurants and more people milling about, said Nancy Sidhu, a veteran of the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles.

Sidhu, chief economist of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.’s Kyser Center for Economic Research, said hotels will be packed, restaurants will be jammed and commuters will need to change their routes during the convention.

“I came downtown an hour early,” she said. “The Democrats don’t get up that early.”

The convention also resulted in “mini construction potholes” throughout downtown Los Angeles, she said. Thanks to all the requests for bandwidth, more cabling had to be run to meet the need, she said.

Sidhu said Charlotte should also expect a lot of upscale parties.

“Wherever splashy parties happen, there will be splashy parties,” she said.  “All of this generates economic impact.”

While Sidhu did not have specific economic impact figures from the 2000 convention, the numbers from the 2008 convention in Denver hold promise for Charlotte.

The 2008 event brought a $266 million economic benefit to the Denver metropolitan area, which encompasses seven counties, said Derek Woodbury, spokesman for the Denver Office of Economic Development. The city and county of Denver experienced a $153.9 million economic impact from the convention, he said.

Charlotte leaders expect the convention to have a $150 million to $200 million economic impact for an estimated $40 million to $45 million investment.

Tara Ramsey can be reached at tara.ramsey@mecktimes.com.

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