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The New Moscone Center: Upgraded, Expanded, and Improved

Find out all that's new in San Francisco's renovated and expanded Moscone Center

The Moscone Center has been hosting events for decades, and the nearly-complete expansion and renovations will keep it globally competitive for decades to come. 

Lynn Farzaroli, senior director of the Moscone expansion for San Francisco Travel, says, “Our two main goals have been to create contiguous space and flexibility” for The Moscone Center. To that end, “we had multiple workshops with local clients, in Washington, D.C., and in Chicago,” she says. These goals have resulted in a wide variety of changes and upgrades. The Moscone Center has undergone an ambitious project that will be attractive to current and prospective clients, including infrastructure upgrades and community improvements.

A new ballroom and exhibition space

The two major convention spaces, Moscone North and South, have always been separated, capping the maximum contiguous square footage at 260,000. The expansion is “almost doubling” that contiguous space, according to Farzaroli. “With 504,000 contiguous square feet, we’re going to be able to fit much larger conventions and create the flexibility clients asked for,” she says. 

The Moscone team wasn’t satisfied with just creating more space. The new above-ground structure on Third and Howard streets provides new opportunities for events. “The 50,000 square foot ballroom has terraces that offer great views of San Francisco,” Farzaroli says. Farzaroli adds the ballroom is also a perfect addition to the Moscone campus. “The ballroom will have the capability of dividing into as many as 16 meeting rooms. The configurations are endless. The wide pre-function corridors allow for expansive views outside and sunshine inside,” she says. 

According to Farzaroli, the building has been designed in concert with the surrounding community that has evolved since Moscone was first opened in 1981, while adding much-needed meeting space.

“State-of-the-art everything”

The Moscone team has used the expansion as an opportunity to further improve everything that makes it such a popular venue. “State-of-the-art lighting, state-of-the-art electrical systems, new fiber-optic cables running through the building” are all among the latest improvements, says Farzaroli. “It really provides a stylish canvas [to impress] our clients.” 

San Francisco Travel reports that the $4.5 million wireless system that was installed in 2012 will be built upon and allow Moscone to support as many as 60,000 devices at once, all at peak performance. Along with these changes come a host of upgrades to kitchens, the HVAC system, digital signage and security systems. In addition, Farzaroli says that the Moscone team has worked with Obscura Digital to provide state-of-the-art screens for digital displays in the south lobby. “They’re about six feet tall and 60 feet long, with a custom content management system,” she says.

Connecting with the community

The Moscone team held dozens of community meetings so that residents could help shape the expansion. Those meetings resulted in a smaller profile for the building and many streetscape improvements for the surrounding community. These changes include expanded sidewalks and plazas that host new food and retail establishments. 

Farzaroli says that the team has been highly cognizant of the impact that The Moscone Center has on the community, particularly with the addition of new above-ground structures. “The neighborhood has really grown up, and people want to interact with the center,” she says.

 San Francisco Travel reports that the expansion is also adding 12,000 square feet of open public space, including a new play area in the children’s garden. Additionally, construction teams improved the pathways leading from gardens into the community. A new and improved pedestrian bridge was built and a second bridge was added over Howard Street. The two bridges have been designed as pieces of art, with an eye toward improving traffic for citizens and attendees.

The construction on the project began in 2014 and The Moscone Center has continued to host conventions throughout. Farzaroli says it was a “big team effort” between SMG, who operates the building, the San Francisco Travel convention sales and services team, and the construction manager, Webcor.