The City Center expansion cleared a final hurdle Tuesday night and now can go out to bid.
The City Council unanimously approved a new design after hearing overwhelming support from business and community leaders.
Just six weeks ago, critics called the previous $16 million City Center design garish and inconsistent with the neighborhood.
So the City Center Authority went back to the drawing board and came up with an alternative that incorporates brick columns to break up the gleaming glass walls and a more attractive entrance.
The Design Review Commission approved the new design two weeks ago and referred it to the City Council.
On Tuesday, no one spoke against the aesthetics of the new design.
The recent modifications normally would cost $50,000 extra, but the authority hopes to be able to meet its $16 million budget with competitive bids in this economic recession, City Center President Mark Baker said.
Originally, Baker hoped that construction could start later this month or in June, but it likely will not start until September.
Numerous business and community leaders spoke in favor of the design and the expansion on Tuesday.
The expansion project at the 1983 building at Broadway and Ellsworth Jones Place, which has been in the works for years, will allow the center to host larger conventions or accommodate two smaller conventions at once.
The expansion is expected to increase the City Center’s indoor space to 74,000 square feet.
HNTB Architecture of Kansas City, Mo., developed plans for the building.
In other news, the City Council approved spending $160 an hour defending itself against a court appeal brought by the Friends of Southside Park.
The law firm Miller, Mannix, Schachner and Hafner may spend up to $20,000 on the appeal.
The council voted 3-2 to spend the money, with commissioners Ron Kim and Anthony “Skip” Scirocco voting against the expenditure.
The Friends group opposes the building of a new indoor recreation center at the South Side Recreation Field on Vanderbilt Avenue.
They appealed to the state Supreme Court's Appellate Division after they lost a court battle brought before the state Supreme Court.