As the final phase of its renovation is completed, a “new” convention center is emerging in the North and South buildings of the Moscone Center in San Francisco, Calif.
“Our very first step was to ask our customers what changes they’d like to see. The point of this whole project was to meet their needs and exceed their expectations,” said Joe D’Alessandro, president and CEO of the San Francisco Travel Association (SF Travel). “Those suggestions were our guideposts every step of the way.”
SF Travel, the City and County of San Francisco, and the San Francisco Tourism Improvement District (SFTID) collectively spent a total of $56 million and two years on re-creating the North and South buildings, with a combined 1.2 million square feet of function space.
The American Thoracic Society (ATS) was the first group to enjoy the “new” Moscone during their 2012 International Conference, held on May 18-23, 2012. The ATS previously used the Moscone Center in 2007 and are scheduled to return in 2016.
“This year, we used North, South and West,” said Emily Catanzaro, CMP, associate director of meeting services for ATS. “The aesthetic improvements made were pleasing to the eye and actually matched our show colors. All hallways and meeting rooms looked fresh and welcoming. We also loved the new LCDs throughout North and South.”
One key change to the Moscone Center brought the city of San Francisco “inside” the buildings through branding, graphics and colors.
“In its previous state, Moscone Center gave meeting attendees very little sense that they were in SanFrancisco,” said Dan Kelleher, chairman of the SFTID. “A major part of this renovation was incorporating recognizable colors like the Golden Gate Bridge’s ‘international orange’ and integrating the city’s iconic images into the buildings’ public spaces and meeting rooms.”
Showcasing Moscone Center’s prominent location in the heart of one of the world’s most iconic cities, these design elements create way-finding landmarks within the center and provide visual cues to a visitors’ location within the city itself.
“Murals depicting city landmarks are now in place on walls throughout the building,” said Naina Ayya, communications manager for the Moscone Center. “Each mural also states the distance of that landmark from the convention center.”
Another upgrade is the installation of a $4.5 million wireless system that can provide high-speed service to as many as 60,000 devices at one time. Building users can use their smart phones, tablets, laptops and other devices simultaneously throughout the facility. Wi-Fi service can also be turned off in each room individually to ensure undivided attention to the programs held inside.
Other upgrades include new carpet, paint, lighting and ceilings; renovations to restrooms; upgraded lobbies and kitchens; and significant infrastructure projects including major upgrades to HVAC systems, elevators and escalators, digital signage and telecom/data cabling systems.
These changes and updates to the Moscone Center were also influenced by an environmentally responsible vision. The “new” center will use 20 percent less energy than it did before the renovation. It will also greatly reduce water consumption and include a new, automated system for HVAC, electrical and lighting controls. And at least 50 percent of the roof is covered in solar panels or greenscape.
“This center is designed to meet LEED Gold green building standards, which will provide long-term benefits for patrons and residents of San Francisco,” said John Noguchi, director of convention facilities for the City of San Francisco. “This is a natural extension of the Mayor’s vision of San Francisco as the most environmentally innovative city in the country.”
Going forward, Mayor Edwin M. Lee of San Francisco has announced a 25-year master plan for the Moscone Center that will expand the facility’s offerings.
“The recent renovations at Moscone North and South are exciting, but they don’t address San Francisco’s need for more convention and meeting space to remain competitive with cities around the world,” said Mayor Lee. “Tourism is our City’s number one industry and bringing Moscone into the 21st Century will boost our city’s economy.”
Details of the expansion, as well as the Center’s choice of general contractor, are to be announced in the next few months. The first phase of the project is expected to be complete by 2018.