From San Jose, CA’s $130-million convention center renovation this year, to the planned opening of a brand-new 68,500-seat stadium next year in Santa Clara, there are plenty of reasons to consider bringing your meeting groups to Northern California.
In the city of San Jose, home to high-tech firms like Cisco Systems and IBM, the results of a $130-million convention center makeover were unveiled to the public on Oct. 10. The new San Jose McEnery Convention Center now offers an additional 125,000 square feet for a total of 550,000 square feet of space for meetings and events.
“With the expansion, we can bring in major pieces of business that we couldn’t before because of size. That will be a big thing,” said Karolyn Kirchgesler, the new CEO of Team San Jose, when her appointment was announced on July 30. She also said to expect more developments and outreach from Team San Jose. “We also want to look at what events are out there in other markets and may need room to expand.”
The newly expanded convention center is just one of many recent investments that Team San Jose has made within the past year, from launching free outdoor public Wi-Fi within its downtown core to renovating the historic San Jose Civic, a theater venue originally built in 1936.
Not far from San Jose, and an hour drive from San Francisco, the city of Santa Clara is currently constructing the 68,500-seat Levi’s Stadium, the future home of the San Francisco 49ers and host to the Super Bowl in 2016. It is slated to open its doors in August 2014.
In San Francisco, a number of new attractions and venues have opened or relocated that might interest meeting planners. In January, the $64-million, 35,000-square-foot SFJAZZ Center, a one-of-a-kind music venue with flexible seating and staging, debuted. It has a 700-seat performance hall and features food and beverage from renowned local chef Charles Phan of modern Vietnamese restaurant The Slanted Door. The Exploratorium, the city’s critically acclaimed museum of science, relocated to its new location at Pier 15 on the Embarcadero in April.
Next year, construction will also begin on the redevelopment of Treasure Island, a man-made island located just west of the Bay Bridge. The new Treasure Island is expected to offer 500 hotel rooms, up to 8,000 new residential units, a 400-slip marina, various restaurants and retail stores, and nearly 300 acres of parks and public open spaces for groups to experience. A new cruise terminal for the city’s Pier 27 is also expected to be made available by next fall.