SPOKANE, Wash. -

The convention center broke ground on its expansion project Wednesday morning, with plans calling for meeting space and expanding the exhibit hall that could bring thousands in new revenue into the local economy.

Plans for the project call to expand the convention center east to west along the Spokane River with 45,000 square feet of new space.

After a brief ceremony crews broke ground on the expansion project; Cheryl Kilday with Visit Spokane said a bigger convention center will make Spokane more attractive to larger meetings and conferences. In fact, Visit Spokane claimed the expansion will make our region competitive with Seattle, Washington, D.C. and the Midwest.

Kilday added the expansion will also make it possible to hold more than one conference at a time.

"I think it's great; whenever we have an opportunity like an expansion to garner this sort of news an announcement. It brings attention, new and renewed to Spokane and it helps us open doors when we are out on sales missions and trying to get organizations that can meet in our new space," Kilday said.

The expansion is made possible by a measure voters approved in last year that extends a 10-cent sales tax and two-percent room tax.

Bigger meetings, call for more hotel space and local developer Walt Worthy has plans to build a hotel across the street from the convention center. He is still looking for a major hotel chain to partner with him on the project and there is hope an announcement will be made on that endeavor in the next few weeks.