by Michael J. Shapiro | October 01, 2016
SAN FRANCISCO

Local Update

 The 789-room Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport, minutes away from its namesake facility, has completed extensive renovations that included all 69,285 square feet of meeting space. Two new ballrooms have debuted, one of which can be combined with the hotel's distinctive central atrium to offer an expansive event space. A new restaurant and bar, 3Sixty, has opened in the central atrium as well, and the hotel now offers a number of smaller meeting spaces with stadium-style seating and flexible furniture arrangements.

 The cutting-edge $4.5 billion Transbay Transit Center under construction South of Market includes one of the first modern high-speed rail stations to be built in the country. The "Grand Central Station of the West," as it's been billed, will serve 10 existing transit systems -- AC Transit, Amtrak, BART, Caltrain, Golden Gate Transit, Greyhound, MUNI, SamTrans, WestCAT Lynx and Paratransit -- as well as the high-speed rail that promises to connect San Francisco and Los Angeles. The station, which is expected to be LEED Gold certified, will have a fully accessible 5.4-acre rooftop park. The first phase of construction is on schedule to be completed in 2017.   

 In the central Union Square district, the 93-room Hotel Grace has changed its name to The Alise in advance of its official opening this month. The property had been operating as Hotel Grace after its soft opening, but management company Pineapple Hospitality decided on the change to avoid potential conflicts with a global hotel group that has been planning projects with a similar name. The Alise's lobby offers sufficient space and seating for networking, and the on-site Pineapple Bistro and Bar is now open. Going forward, the design-focused hotel plans to feature an extensive collection of fine art and commissioned works.

 The advocacy group ShareBetterSF launched a high-profile ad campaign around San Francisco last month, targeting Airbnb's refusal to comply with new local regulations that require short-term rental companies to list only units registered with the city. Airbnb is now suing the city on the grounds that the regulation violates the Communications Decency Act. The campaign, which parodies Airbnb's "Dear San Francisco" ads of a year ago, features one ad that reads, in part, "You told us not to spend your tax payments 'all in one place,' but now you're making us spend taxpayer money on defending your frivolous lawsuit?" Airbnb currently is suing Santa Monica and Anaheim over their own local ordinances.