by Michael C. Lowe | January 01, 2015
Why here?
The meetings industry is thriving in California, as a number of major investments demonstrate. Projects include a $500 million expansion of San Francisco's Moscone Center (above), currently under construction, and a $180 million expansion of Anaheim's convention center that will begin in April.

Snow Biz
The Homewood Mountain Resort on the western edge of Lake Tahoe now offers skiers and snowboarders exclusive access to more than 750 acres of out-of-bounds trails via Snowcat vehicles.

A new program at the Alpine Meadows Resort in North Lake Tahoe lets guests snowshoe under the stars to a Swiss-style mountain chalet for a hearty Alps-inspired dinner, including potato cheese soup, prime rib and apple strudel.

Don't Throw Stones
The new 12,000-square-foot Glasshouse in downtown San Jose offers stunningly chic function space for up to 1,200 people, with its main hall surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows.

Raise a Glass
The Pendry San Diego, a 317-room luxury hotel, is slated to open in summer 2016, three blocks north of the San Diego Convention Center. Plans call for a beer hall, an 8,600-square-foot-ballroom, a nightclub, an outdoor pool and a spa.

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Local Update

• Moscone Center has begun a $500 million expansion that will create some 500,000 square feet of new contiguous exhibition space, multiple outdoor event terraces and more than 8,000 square feet of public space. Construction, which began last month, is expected to be completed by fall 2018. The project comes on the heels of a $56 million renovation of the facility's North and South buildings.    

 The James R. Herman Cruise Terminal at Pier 27 opened this past October with 60,000 square feet of function space available for groups when not being used by cruise ships. The venue has 360-degree views of San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz and the Bay Bridge.

 Once a gathering place for military leaders and their families, the venerable  Presidio Officers' Club has reopened as a special-events venue. Groups can take in views of the Presidio and the Bay from the 2,955-square-foot Ortega Ballroom, which also features an outdoor terrace.

 The 404-room W San Francisco has unveiled a new event space with a terrace overlooking the city's SoMa (for South of Market) district. The 2,467-square-foot venue has skylights and radial lighting along the ceiling and can seat up to 200. The hotel has a total of 12,000 square feet of meeting space. For dining, the on-site Trace restaurant offers fresh organic California cuisine.

 In celebration of its 110th anniversary, the Westin St. Francis last May completed a $20 million renovation of its Tower Building, which houses 569 of the hotel's 1,195 guest rooms. The Union Square property, which first opened its doors as the St. Francis Hotel in 1904, has approximately 56,000 square feet of meeting space.

 This past fall, the 336-room Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, completed a renovation of its 23,000 square feet of meeting space. The refreshed spaces include the property's 9,500-square-foot ballroom, which now sports new black-and-white carpeting, mirrored walls and Bavarian crystal chandeliers.