Plans for a civic center arena started with the larger plans to redevelop downtown around the Worcester Center and Galleria in 1965. The plan was to clear central downtown of its older manufacturing and industrial buildings and build modern office, retail, and entertainment spaces. The civic center project was delayed by problems with fundraising and debates over location until 1977 when properties at 165-167 and 169-171 Commercial St. were purchased by the city and then razed to make way for what would become the Centrum in Worcester. When it opened its doors to the public in 1982, the main arena could seat about 12,000 people. In 1997, the Centrum expanded to become a full-fledged convention space, which is now known as the DCU Center.