Preparing the new convention center for its first show

Following last weekend's ribbon-cutting ceremony, workers are putting finishing touches on the new Washington Convention Center in time for next week's opening of FOSE.

The three-day show, produced by Post Newsweek Tech Media, is expected to attract more than 18,000 guests and some 400 vendors.

The convention center, covering six square blocks, is the largest building in the city, 2.3 million square feet ' enough space to hold two Major League baseball stadiums or four jumbo jets, according to the center's promoters.

Other factoids: The center has 75,000 square feet of granite, 26 different carpet designs, four acres of glass walls and 1,000 miles of wiring. It cost $833.9 million to build, about 17 percent more than projected.

One consultant's study projects the center will have an 'annual economic impact' of $656 million in the city, which includes spending in nearby restaurants and hotels.

While portions of the center remain under construction, including food vendor areas, the meeting and exhibit rooms used by FOSE will be complete, managers say.

Work is expected to be finished on the Metrorail station entrance directly linking to the new convention center by April 8, the opening day for FOSE.

A mezzanine will connect the center with the Mt. Vernon Square/7th Street-Convention Center station. The station serves Yellow and Green line trains.

For more information, including vendor lists and floor plans, visit www.fose.com

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