On The Street
December 14, 2016
Mark Baker is retiring after 33 years at the Saratoga Springs City Center — the first and only person to lead the downtown Saratoga Springs, New York, convention center. The City Center president will retire Dec. 31, though he will stay on until a successor is chosen.
Additionally, he will remain on staff in a limited role overseeing the construction of a $10 million parking garage. Baker and other City Center supporters have been pushing for the garage for years to accommodate the growing number of events at the center on Broadway. Construction is expected to start next spring and take 10 months.
"After 33 years, and having the opportunity do as much as I've done, and the ability to take advantage of retirement, this is a good time to do it," said Baker, 66. "I'm in good health."
Joseph Dalton, chairman of the City Center Authority, said Baker will leave the convention center "on a very solid and high level of success." A selection committee is interviewing potential candidates for Baker's job. An announcement is expected in the near future.
Baker moved to the area in 1983 with his family from Wisconsin and was present for the City Center's ground-breaking. He oversaw the facility through its construction, opening in 1984 and expansion five years ago.
The 32,000-square-foot facility is attached to the Saratoga Hilton, which is owned separately and also has meeting space. There were 24 events at City Center in the first year, filling 43 1/2 days. This year, the center has 170 events scheduled, filling 261 days. Sales figures for 2017 are exceeding this year. He credited the City Council and other community members for the convention center's success.
Baker is stepping down as a new regional competitor is preparing to open in March: the Albany Capital Center in downtown Albany.
On The Street
At the December 14th Saratoga Springs City Center Authority Board meeting, with City Council and County Board representatives present, Chairman Joe Dalton announced that Ryan E. McMahon has been selected as the new Executive Director of Saratoga Springs City Center. Mr. McMahon will assume this new position as of January 1st, 2017. He will succeed Mr. Mark E. Baker who has led City Center since its inception in 1984.