Convention Center Expansion Gets Green Light in San Francisco

San Francisco’s city council, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, has approved the creation of a Moscone Expansion District (MED) that will fund a $500 million expansion of the city’s Moscone Center, the San Francisco Travel Association announced yesterday.

Under the city-approved plan, hotels inside the MED will pay assessments that will generate two-thirds of the cost of the convention center expansion. The additional third will come from a continuation of funding from the city’s general fund.

“Investing in the expansion of our world-class Moscone Center is absolutely essential for San Francisco because tourism dollars generated by activities at the convention center ripple into every neighborhood of the city through jobs, local purchases and taxes paid by visitors,” San Francisco Mayor Edwin L. Lee said in a statement. “The city is proud to partner with the hotel and tourism industry to make this investment which will help grow our recovering economy and create jobs.”

The MED will begin collecting revenues in July 2013, with construction scheduled to begin in November 2014. Upon completion in 2018, the expansion will add approximately 350,000 to 400,000 square feet to the convention center, including 80,000 or more square feet of contiguous exhibit space.

“San Francisco has already lost meetings representing $2.057 billion in direct spending as a result of space limitations for meetings with dates between 2010 and 2019,” said Joe D’Alessandro, president and CEO of the San Francisco Travel Association. “The existing three-building configuration of Moscone Center is effectively filled to capacity. Therefore, it is impossible to significantly grow the San Francisco convention market without providing additional meeting and exhibit space — especially contiguous exhibition space.”

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