Moscone Center “Topping Out” Signals Final Phase of Expansion, was the headline on the latest news release from San Francisco Travel, the Bay Area destination marketing organization. The headline writer exercised restraint in not adding exclamation points and happy emojis to the end of that sentence. The $551 million expansion, which will bring the center’s total exhibit space to more than 504,000 square feet, began construction in November 2014. The erection of the last major beam of steel was a noteworthy milestone, meaning that the project was on budget and on time for its scheduled Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting on January 3, 2019.
Moscone plays a key role in San Francisco’s economy, points out Joe D’Alessandro, SF Travel’s president and CEO of the San Francisco Travel Association. “San Francisco welcomes more than 25 million visitors each year, and over 20 percent of those visitors pass through Moscone Center,” he says. “It is important that San Francisco stay competitive with expanded and upgraded convention facilities. This project has achieved that.”
As SF Travel notes, the expansion adds more than 157,000 square feet of flexible meting space to Moscone, creating the ability to have over 80 meeting rooms. Expanded lobbies in Moscone’s North and South buildings will total around 60,000 square feet. Two new floors of column-free meeting space include a 50,000 square-foot ballroom.
The project also includes two new pedestrian bridges across Howard Street, the East Bridge and West Bridge. The East bridge will allow event attendees to access the upper levels of Moscone North and Moscone South without returning to ground level. It will also feature a public art piece designed by Leo Villareal, who also designed the iconic Bay Lights on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. The West Bridge is a public access bridge connecting the Yerba Buena Gardens on either side of Howard Street. There will be landscaping and public art on the span of the bridge.
Behind-the-scenes benefits include an expanded kitchen, expanded freight access for move-in, move-out; built-in show offices and an improved public realm in areas around the center.
We’ll be covering the opening in detail in future issues of California Meetings + Events. In the meantime, enjoy some snapshots of the ongoing expansion.