The Riverside Convention Center will at least double in size and downtown Riverside will see an amphitheater and 376 more hotel rooms along with housing, offices and a five-level parking structure — all by early 2023.

That development of the city-owned space around the convention center received the City Council’s blessing Tuesday, May 7. It will mean long-lasting benefits by bringing visitors to larger conventions and technology workers who will then spend money in downtown and the rest of the city, Mayor Rusty Bailey said.

“Ultimately the downtown will be changed forever, the city will be changed forever, because of the quality of this project and where it’s located,” Bailey said. “This is one of those projects that’s a game-changer for us.”

After nearly four hours of discussion, the council voted 6-1 to approve the proposal from the Irvine-based Greens Group and Griffin|Swinerton instead of Riverside’s Sonnenblick, LLC.

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