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The “New” Moscone Center Emerging in San Francisco

As San Francisco’s Moscone Center enters the final phase of its renovation, a “new” convention center is emerging in the North and South buildings.


March 19, 2012 — As San Francisco’s Moscone Center enters the final phase of its renovation, a “new” convention center is emerging in the North and South buildings.

“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) are spending a total of $56 million and two years on re-creating the two buildings, with a combined 1.2 million square feet of function space.

The American Thoracic Society will be the first group to enjoy the “new” Moscone when they hold their 2012 International Conference there on May 18–23.

One of the key changes to Moscone Center will bring 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 San Francisco,” said Dan Kelleher, chairman of the SFTID. “A major part of this renovation is 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 visitors’ location within the city itself.

A $4.5 million wireless system has been installed, providing 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 with peak performance.  Wifi service can also be turned off in each room individually to ensure undivided attention to the programs held inside.

Meeting planners and groups will appreciate other upgrades such as new carpet, paint, lighting and ceilings; renovations to restrooms (including bag hooks in both men’s and women’s 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.

New visitor information kiosks are being installed in all three buildings of Moscone Center – North, South and West.  These kiosks will be staffed by SF Travel’s Visitor Information Center during conventions and will have touch screen guides and brochures available at all times.

The Moscone Center upgrades for the lobbies, meeting rooms, exhibit halls, ballrooms and public restrooms are influenced by a new environmentally responsible vision established by the project stakeholders. 

“This center is designed to meet LEED Gold green building standards which will provide long-term benefits for patrons and residents of San Francisco.” 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.”

The “new” Moscone Center will optimize energy performance to exceed 20% of the former building usage, greatly reduce water consumption and incorporate a new Building Automation System for Chiller, HVAC, electrical and lighting controls.  At least 50% of Moscone Center’s existing roof is covered by either PV panels or green scape and park area. The center has recently adopted new solid waste management, green cleaning and indoor integrated pest management policies, and sustainable purchasing policies and guidelines including green purchasing, organic or locally produced food and beverage from within 100 miles of the center, green vendor agreements, and Green Conference Attendee and Exhibitor Guidelines.