by Michael J. Shapiro | January 04, 2019
San Francisco officials celebrated the completion of the $551 million Moscone Center expansion yesterday, capping off the phased, four-year construction project. More than 1,000 people attended the opening ceremonies and toured the expanded North and South Moscone buildings.
The project resulted in 157,000 square feet of additional usable space, but most importantly, the venue now can handle much larger shows, with a total 504,914 square feet of contiguous space. Previously, the largest contiguous space was just 260,000 square feet. A new, column-free ballroom offers nearly 50,000 square feet.
 
New views of the city and Yerba Buena Gardens can be seen from 25,000 square feet of secure outdoor terraces, available for receptions, and from the 107,000 square feet of new light-filled prefunction lobby spaces.
 
"With the completion of the Moscone Center expansion, San Francisco is taking a major step to support and expand our tourism industry, while also serving residents in the surrounding area," said Mayor London Breed. "This state-of-the-art facility exemplifies our commitment to sustainability, creates new flexible-use convention and tourism spaces, and supports the neighborhood with a host of new design and open-space improvements."
 
In terms of the sustainability commitment, the expansion was designed to achieve LEED Platinum status. Among the green initiatives are what officials claim are the lowest per-delegate carbon emissions for any major convention center on the continent, as well as the largest solar-panel array in San Francisco. Solar energy will provide about 20 percent of the power used by the facility.
 
The North and South halls now feature 82 meeting rooms, making a total of 114 for the entire facility, including Moscone West. The full convention center has 1,139,775 square feet of usable space. 
 
As San Francisco requires that 2 percent of the construction budget be allotted for public art, the expansion is well appointed with installations. Among them are the PointCloud light installation by artist Leo Villareal, designer of the Bay Lights on the Bay Bridge, as well as Double Horizon, a series of sculptures by Sarah Sze; Geneses, a sculpture by Christine Corday; and Roll, a large mural by Brendan Monroe. 
 
The San Francisco Visitor Information Center will be relocated to its new home in Moscone South next week.