(CBS Connecticut) — This afternoon, Mohegan Sun officials formally announced plans for an $80-million convention center expansion.

The Mohegan Sun Expo Center will include a big open convention floor for large gatherings like car and boat shows.

The Mohegan Sun Expo Center’s 131,000 square foot exhibit space will be almost as big as the Connecticut Convention Center’s 140,000 square foot exhibit hall.

Asked about competition with the existing convention center in Hartford, Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority CEO Mitchell Etess said the new facility will appeal to event organizers seeking a resort destination, whereas the Connecticut Convention Center will attract gatherings seeking a city atmosphere.

“A little competition is always great,” Etess said. “But this is something that will add to the tourism destination of Connecticut, because of our location, because of what the offering is here.”

Etess says the two facilities already do compete to some extent, and that will continue.

The new expo center is expected to be finished by the summer of next year.


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